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Should an employment attorney look over an employment contract?

Yelm, WA |

I'm going to be a contract employee for the first time in my life, and I was wondering if it would be smart to have an employment attorney look over the contract before I sign it.


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Attorney answers 4


I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

I think you know the answer to your question. Yes, of course you should. There are many reasons. Some contracts include provisions that are extremely unfavorable to the contractor; many terms are negotiable; the employment may not be a legitimate independent contractor job but actually an employee position; there may be terms you want to include in the contract; and far more.

Spend $1,000-1,500 now and save yourself a load of grief down the road.

To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


Without a doubt. Although you do not speak to the contents of the contract, it is possible that the contract contains clauses that are unfair now or that you may wish you had not agreed to once your employment ends. For example, the agreement might have restrictions on your ability to compete with the employer or solicit its customers or employees during and after your employment terminates. Tread carefully.


I would agree that having an attorney look over the employment contract now would be a great idea! There are many issues with contractors being mis-classified. It should not take an attorney too long to look through agreement for you and make sure you are not entering into a bad/unfair agreement.


If you don't understand the contract, or are
a bit 'hesitant' to sign it . . . then YES, have
an attorney look it over. If the employer does
not or will not let an 'outside' attorney look
at the contract . . . then I would wonder what
they were trying to hide . . . and might think
twice about hiring in. Good luck!


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