Do I need a lawyer to create an employment contract, or is there a way to do it on my own?

Asked about 1 year ago - Cincinnati, OH

I just hired a couple of artists and designers, and I may need an employment contract. I recently started a company and we're very close to launching, but we're also very close to the end of our budget. Do I need to have my lawyer draw up the contract, or is there a template somewhere I can tweak for my purposes, or fill in specific fields? Is there somewhere I can go to get the contract made at a lower price?
Please and thank you very much for your time.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Christopher Lee Beck

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Employment contracts can subject you to a lot of liability as a business owner. The way the contract is worded can affect the way you pay taxes, the way the employee is paid, the benefits that you may have to offer, your insurance rates for business insurance and health insurance (included under the new system of Affordable Care Act). It can also affect your workers compensation and unemployment compensation payments. Can you find somewhere online? Probably. You most certainly should not. It is better to do this right the first time than risk losing your business once it is more successful and you have more to lose. You should discuss this with your attorney. If your attorney is charging to much then you should shop around. It should depend on whether you trust your attorney to do a good job. I have prepared employment contracts for businesses that I represent. Depending on the complexity and time frame you would be looking at somewhere between $500-$1000 for a simple employment contract. Also if these are not actual employees and are subcontractors make sure the contract is very clear. Good luck.

    Attorney Chris Beck
    Beck Law Office, L.L.C.
    Beavercreek, Ohio
    (937)510-6110 phone
    (937)867-4111 fax
    attycbeck@gmail.com
    www.becklawofficellc.com

    The responses of Attorney Chris Beck to any questions posed on Avvo do NOT establish an Attorney-client... more
  2. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . It all depends on the degree of risk you are willing to accept.

    Can you find an online employment contract that you can tweak? Absolutely. Will it hold up in any of the dozens of disputs that might arise--who knows. Would you have recourse against the place you downloaded the form from in the event you lose your business in a lawsuit--probably not.

    Smart money says you find a business attorney in your locale and establish a working relationship, a payment plan that meets your company needs, and get youself started off properly. Best of luck to you.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of... more
  3. Alexander Patton Montgomery

    Contributor Level 8

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I have to agree with Mr. Beck and Mr. Rafter. There are too many individualized considerations that may not be and probably are not covered by a simple template. The drafter of the template probably hasn't accounted for every situation that may affect your business. For example, what if your artists and designers are actually considered independent contractors and your contract does not have a work-for-hire provision? Your company may not even own the work those workers create and could be subject to thousands of dollars in copyright infringement liability. Also, do you want your employees to be at-will or subject to a contract of a specific term of employment? An attorney will help you identify these situations and account for them in the contract.

    The money you spend on this contract is analogous to buying insurance. A relatively small amount of money now could save you thousands of dollars in the future. It will also give you a piece of mind and help you avoid unnecessary headaches. When you hire an attorney you're paying for a service, not simply a document you can download off the internet.

    Below I've attached a link to a site I contribute to that covers a variety of legal topics related to startups and existing businesses. It also lists the prices for various services. I hope it can help explain any further questions you may have. Good luck!

    Alexander Montgomery
    Cornetet, Meyer, Rush & Kirzner, Co., L.P.A.
    Cincinnati, OH 45246
    www.cmrklaw.com

    No attorney-client relationship implied or accepted without a signed fee agreement. This response is theoretical... more
  4. Rachel Anne Sabo

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I completely agree with all other answers. It would be best, to ensure you are not subjected to liability, to have an attorney create it for you. At the very least, you should have an attorney look over and edit what you have drafted. The amount of money it will cost you to pay an attorney to look at this will greatly outweigh your piece of mind knowing you are protected should anything happen with these employees.

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