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Avoid lawyers and lawsuits: Watch what you write and type

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What do you think is the best way to do business? Most clients tell me “by handshake.” The real answer is “in writing”.

Well-drafted, easy to read contracts stop arguments before they begin. A little nit picking up front saves money and business relationships in the future. The best businesses have known this for years.
Now, enter the computer age. As lawyer/blogger Nicole Black deftly notes: “The world has changed in ways we couldn’t have envisioned just 10 years ago-and the legal field is not immune from these changes, despite its repeated attempts to stick its collective heads deeply into the sands of time.“  So, have the rules changed? No, the rules are the same. They just apply to a vast new realm of media. The best business is still written. Given the pace of business, there is more “writing” now than ever before. Keeping writing consistent and accessible has become a new priority.

If you want to be scared, intellectual property author Brett Trout of BlawgIT offers bone-chilling insight on how your online activities and/or writings might prompt a frantic call to a litigator. Like the cute blonde in every thriller learns too late, if you don’t take action before the monster in the hockey mask breaks down your door, it gets gruesome. Hire a “happy lawyer” to review your Web site, your blog, your social-networking policy and your employment handbook.

Regular review of your documents, including Web sites, social media sites, e-mail policy, document retention policy (that includes electronic documents) and employee handbooks or network policy can save significant amounts of grief and money.

Or you may wait until you have a problem…then come see me.

- Christine Branstad

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