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Why you shouldn't replace a skilled lawyer with an iPhone app

Released in 2012, the iPhone app called Shake gave people across the United States, including our readers here in California, the opportunity to draft legally binding contracts with just a smartphone device. Users could, for free, draft stock agreements by answering a few questions. Afterwards, both parties could then sign the contract, making it legally binding.

But while this app works well with standard contracts, such as those between contractors or non-disclosure agreements, this isn't the case with more complex or high-value contracts. As we have said before on this blog, just about every aspect of the entertainment industry relies on carefully drafted contracts that outline everything from the term of service to how much an individual will be compensated for their work. Even a small mistake can add up to big legal problems down the road.

So whether you're an actor or an athlete, a director or a retail company, the iPhone app Shake may not be an adequate replacement for a skilled lawyer. That's because a lawyer can address things like potential fraud or misrepresentation in a contract and can help in negotiations between parties to make sure that both sides are getting what they want from the agreement.

This can be difficult to achieve though with Shake because it uses boilerplate language for its contracts. But as so many of our readers know, some contracts are not a one-size-fits-all type of thing, meaning the language within it needs to be precise to the situation at hand. This also means that a contract should be reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney too, especially if you want to make sure that you are adhering to all state and federal laws and that no mistakes have been made that can turn into legal headaches later on.

Source: Gizmodo, "There's an App For Legally Binding Contracts," Lily Hay Newman, Sept. 15, 2013

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