Contract or Cat License?


Remember the classic Monty Python skit? Eric Praline (John Cleese) walks into the Post Office to get a fish license for his pet halibut (also named Eric) and gets into an argument with the man behind the counter (Eric Idle). Here is an excerpt*:

Praline (pulling out his “cat license” to prove such things exist): What?s that then?

Man: This is a dog license with the word "dog? crossed out and the word "cat? written in crayon.

Praline: The man didn't have the proper form.

Man : What man?

Praline: The man from the cat detector van.

It gets sillier from there, but I digress…

Of what possible relevance is this you ask? Simple, this happens all the time in small business. Understandably, business owners want to control costs. Legal fees in particular. In light of the huge volume of legal documents accessible from the web, who can blame a business owner for finding what looks like a perfectly good form, marking it up and using it for a critical contract. This is commonplace, but very risky. I spend a significant portion of my practice time trying to extricate clients from unfortunate situations caused by this casual approach to contracts.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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