Thursday, May 3, 2012

Know Your Terms


A recent legal malpractice case finds a client suing its former attorneys for failure to include terms in a lease addressing their landlord’s ongoing construction.  As a result of this construction, the client was unable to occupy its office space for nearly four years and claims to have suffered lost profits and consequential damages amounting to millions of dollars. 

Attorneys must be aware of potentially disruptive issues like construction when they negotiate a lease and be sure to address them all in the contract. These attorneys failed to include a single lease term, and now they find themselves defending a multi-million dollar lawsuit arising from a simple commercial transaction. 

There is a lesson here for non-attorneys as well.  Oftentimes real estate brokers will rely on form contracts or draft provisions themselves.  Don’t.  A missing or improperly drafted term in an agreement can have significant financial consequences.  If even skilled attorneys, trained to anticipate litigation around every corner, may miss these issues, how confident are you that a Blumberg form will cover them?