Red Flags For The New Contract Attorney

When you’re considering a new contract attorney position, it’s important to ask the right questions. If you don’t ask the right questions, you could end up stuck with a bad client-attorney relationship and no way out. Here are five red flags that every contract attorney should be wary of:

Common red flags found during Smart Contract auditing
1. Understanding Ambiguous Language: Be vigilant about identifying vague or ambiguous terms in contracts, as they can lead to misunderstandings later on.
2. Spotting Unbalanced Clauses: Pay close attention to clauses that heavily favor one party over the other, as they may indicate an unfair contract.
3. Evaluating Legal Compliance: Ensure that the contract adheres to all relevant legal regulations and requirements to avoid potential legal complications.
4. Assessing Hidden Fees: Thoroughly review the contract for any hidden fees or costs that might not be immediately obvious.
5. Clarifying Responsibilities: Clearly define the responsibilities and obligations of all parties involved in the contract to prevent future disputes.
6. Seeking Legal Counsel: When in doubt, seek advice from legal professionals who can provide insights into complex contract language and potential risks.
7. Negotiating Favorable Terms: Don’t hesitate to negotiate terms that you find concerning; contracts are often open to modifications before finalization.
8. Mitigating Risk: Consider potential worst-case scenarios and assess how the contract addresses or mitigates these risks.
9. Considering Long-Term Implications: Evaluate how the contract terms could impact your professional or business relationships in the long run.
10. Documentation and Record Keeping: Maintain thorough documentation of contract negotiations, revisions, and final agreements for reference in the future.

Hourly Rates

If you’re not making at least $200 per hour, you’re probably not going to be able to pay your bills and support a family. If you’re not making at least $300 per hour, it’s going to be hard for you to pay all of your bills and save money for retirement. 

You should be aiming for at least $400 per hour to have any kind of savings, and anything less than that is just irresponsible on your part as an attorney who has spent years earning their JD degree from an expensive school (or whatever law school you went to).

When crafting contracts, it’s crucial to be aware of potential pitfalls. Avoiding common errors can save you future headaches. Learn about the top 11 mistakes to avoid when writing contracts to ensure legally sound agreements.

The Terms Of Engagement Letter

The terms of the engagement letter should be clear and concise. It should include the scope of work, fee structure, payment terms, and attorney responsibilities.

The scope of work is the description of what you are going to do as an attorney for your client. The fee structure is how much you will charge them per hour or per project (it may be hourly or flat rate). 

Payment terms are when they agree to pay you some contracts require payment upfront while others allow them to pay after a certain period has passed. Attorney responsibilities refer to those things an attorney has agreed upon with his/her client that he/she must complete before being paid for services rendered by him/herself

Where Will You Be Working?

Location of the office: This is a huge factor for me because I have to drive 45 minutes each way to work. There are a lot of things that can go wrong along the way, so your office must be in a convenient location for you. If your commute is going to be difficult, then maybe reconsider joining this firm.

Location of the office about your home: If you live far away from work and need to spend money on gas or public transportation daily, then maybe reconsider joining this firm. It’ll save some stress if at least one person has easy access to their job by car or bike (or feet).

Crafting persuasive legal briefs requires finesse and attention to detail. Discover effective strategies for creating briefs that capture judges’ attention without irritation. Check out our guide on how lawyers can write legal briefs that deliver compelling arguments.

Will The Company Pay For Your Travel Expenses?

If you’re asked to travel for this role, there should be a clause in the contract that addresses it. If your client is going to pay for your travel expenses, they’ll want to know what they’re getting in return and if they can’t see any value in paying them (like because you never take advantage of the opportunity), then they probably aren’t going to do it. 

If a company is offering you a job and wants you on-site right away, ask them how much money they’re willing to spend on flights and hotel rooms before accepting the position.

The best way to approach this conversation is by telling the truth: “I’m not sure if I’ll need any travel at all during my first year here.” You could also ask about other benefits like relocation assistance or housing subsidies; those might be worth looking into as well!

What Does The Contract Attorney Dress Code Look Like?

There are a few things to keep in mind when determining your contract attorney dress code. First, it should be clear and written down. Second, the dress code should be enforced fairly and consistently. Third, it should take into account local customs and norms when appropriate. Finally, it should reflect your company culture while remaining professional.

Presenting a powerful sentencing memorandum can significantly impact legal outcomes. To enhance your writing, explore these 10 essential tips for writing a killer sentencing memorandum that effectively advocate for your client’s best interests.

Are You Well-Versed In The Software Used By The Firm?

A lot of law firms use Excel, Word, and Outlook to manage their documents and communicate with clients. Those are probably the tools you’ll be expected to know first, but if it’s a big firm that handles many cases, you’ll also need to learn about other software packages like CaseMap or TrialWorks. 

If a case is complex enough that it requires special litigation software like EpiData or Concordance you will have additional learning requirements.

When we hire an attorney into our firm, they usually spend two months learning the basics and four months learning everything else until they feel comfortable using the programs confidently in front of clients or testifying in court without an expert witness helping them along the way.

Don’t Blindly Accept Your Assignments

You are the expert on your time and skills. You should be the one to decide which assignments you take on, or if you want to take any at all. If a client offers you an assignment that doesn’t make sense for your practice or sounds monotonous or boring, it is okay to say no (and still get paid). 

It is also important not to accept assignments that are outside of your area of expertise for example if you have been hired as an employment lawyer but have never represented employers before in a lawsuit against employees may not be able to adequately represent those clients because they don’t have enough experience with this type of case.

You can set up parameters around when and how much work you will take on by creating an availability calendar in Google Sheets (or whichever spreadsheet program works best for you). 

This allows clients who need help setting up their calendars (or just want someone else to do all their scheduling) as well as making sure that each person has enough time for themselves! You can even add notes about each day so clients know exactly what happens during those days without having any surprises pop up later down the line.”

Mastering the art of legal writing goes beyond just conveying information—it’s about creating a professional and compelling narrative. Dive into the nuances of expert legal writing to ensure your documents reflect a high level of competence and clarity.

The Attorney-Client Relationship Is A Two-Way Street

You are hiring an attorney because you need help with your case. The attorney is best positioned to provide expert advice, so it’s natural to expect them to do just that.

On the other hand, there are times when clients don’t realize they have an obligation as well. 

Your experience as a client has been shaped by prior interactions with other professionals who were paid for their time and expertise doctors and dentists come immediately to mind here but there are significant differences between those relationships and yours with your attorney. Here are some ways in which you can set yourself up for success as a client:

Ask questions about your case and its process before entering into any agreements or contracts. It may seem obvious, but if you don’t understand something completely then ask! Even if it seems like a simple question, ask anyway! 

You don’t want any surprises down the road when it comes time for work on your behalf; therefore, be sure all is clear before proceeding further down this path toward resolution (or justice).

Make sure that deadlines are defined clearly when negotiating terms of engagement with an attorney or law firm (and also ensure those terms reflect realistic expectations). 

In turn, ensure these deadlines are respected by both parties throughout representation so everyone involved knows what’s expected at each step along this journey together toward resolving matters once considered impossible by most people outside our profession.”

Incorporating common sense into legal writing and analysis can strengthen your arguments and streamline your communication. Learn how to effectively integrate this valuable tool by exploring our insights on using common sense in legal writing and analysis for more persuasive and coherent documents.


That’s a lot of information to take in. If you’re just starting on this journey, it can be overwhelming! But don’t worry. 

Like I said earlier, we’re here for you every step of the way. We want to help make your transition from law school into practice as smooth as possible especially when it comes to landing that first job. And if there are any questions left unanswered, just shoot us an email at and one of our experts will get back to you ASAP!

Further Reading

Red Flags in Contracts: Explore a comprehensive guide to recognizing and addressing potential red flags in contracts.

Contract Red Flags: What to Watch For: Discover common warning signs in contracts and learn how to navigate through them effectively.

Identifying Red Flags in Bad Contracts: Learn about key indicators of problematic contracts and how to protect your interests.

And here’s the FAQs section:


What are the most common red flags in contracts?

Red flags in contracts can include vague language, one-sided terms, and unclear responsibilities that might lead to disputes or unfavorable outcomes.

How can I identify potential issues in a contract?

To identify potential issues in a contract, carefully review the terms, paying attention to ambiguous language, hidden fees, and any clauses that seem heavily biased toward one party.

What steps should I take if I encounter a red flag in a contract?

If you come across a red flag in a contract, consider seeking legal advice to fully understand the implications and explore negotiation options with the other party.

Can red flags in contracts be negotiated?

Yes, red flags in contracts can often be negotiated. If you spot terms that concern you, discuss your concerns with the other party and work towards mutually agreeable modifications.

How can I protect myself from problematic contracts?

To protect yourself from problematic contracts, ensure you read and understand the terms thoroughly, consult legal professionals when needed, and don’t hesitate to ask for changes if certain clauses raise concerns.