Should I hire an attorney to read a contract before signing?
I'm obviously biased but my answer is yes. It's most likely worth paying an attorney to read and review a contract then to "pay" in the long road by signing something horrible. Even if everything is fine hiring an attorney to explain how your contract terms work could be beneficial.
An attorney can look for things you may be concerned about. For example if you are worried about what happens to the intellectual property created during the project (art, documents, ideas, software, etc.), an attorney can determine whether the clause is good as is or may require negotiating changes with the other party.
Additionally, an attorney can evaluate what may constitute a breach by you or the other party (meaning advise on what to not do or to be careful not to do). Maybe the contract mentions revisions and how many are allowed. Maybe the contract has a liquidated damages clause (one that says what the damages will be or how to calculate them should something occur).
Maybe there are things missing from the contract that you would like that are not there. For instance, a deposit that you can keep if work is cancelled or an time frame on when you must be paid after project completion.
These are just a few examples of many reasons why an attorney can and should review your contract before signing. The most simple is an attorney is familiar with contract terms. Just like I wouldn't choose medical devices at a doctor's office--maybe you should be careful about choosing/agreeing to terms you aren't familiar with. We are all smarter when we admit what we know and what we don't know.
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