For Clients from Civil Law Countries

Henning Law Firm, P.A.

For Clients from Civil Law Countries

Clients from Civil Law jurisdictions often say “I don’t need a lawyer, I’m not being sued” but that is a misunderstanding of the basic function of attorneys in the US system.

Keeping you out of court is precisely the point of hiring legal counsel to help plan and draft agreements and obtain required permits and licenses and effect proper labeling of your product.  And yes, U.S. contracts and leases are voluminous as compared to Europe, but that is because there is no “Basic Law” that regulates conduct to protect the parties like in Europe.

Many of the points clients from Civil Law Countries take for granted, such as quality standards, choice of law and venue, arbitration clauses and attorney fee shifting must be included in agreements and these have to be drafted or at least reviewed so that you know what you’re getting into.

Attorney’s fees (not court costs) are the major expense in U.S. litigation.  Investing in proper legal counsel to structure, plan and document transactions – and employment relationships - can save you from having an experience with the U.S. legal system that you would not care to repeat.  Anybody can sue anyone for anything … but the likelihood of a frivolous law suit or a party’s non-compliance is a lot lower if a contract includes proper protections, such as a party knowing that they will have to pay the winner’s attorney’s fees.

Also different:  Notaries (except Civil Law Notaries in limited jurisdictions) are not jurists and should not give legal advice or draft legal documents or immigration petitions (although this happens often in communities that do not understand that notaries usually have no legal training).  Notaries do not close real estate transactions - Lawyers and title companies (with lawyers) do.  Tax advisors do not give legal advice (outside of the tax arena) and do not draft legal agreements – lawyers do.

And please – if are a buyer and you like your realtor – do not go to a different realtor because you think that realtors can only show the properties listed by their own companies.  All realtors have access to a Multi Listing Service that includes all listed properties – at least in Florida.  There is nothing more frustrating for your realtor than getting a call from a colleague and finding out that they are both representing the same buyer.



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