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Outside Court: 5 Other Things Lawyers Do

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on April 12, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On Matlock, The Good Wife, and [insert your favorite legal drama here], the attorneys and their clients put their game faces on, suit up, and get ready to sue or be sued for a saucy legal issue that has arisen. But in reality, not every attorney is an Alicia Florrick, appealing to the judge and jury with grand gestures and a winning smile.

On the contrary, transactional attorneys do the bulk of their work behind the scenes. They pen contracts on a variety of legal issues and stay far, far away from court. In general, a good transactional attorney will almost never see the inside of a courtroom.

Here are 5 things transactional lawyers do -- possibly without you even realizing it:

1. Transactional attorneys are shields

If litigators are the suit-clad swords of the system, transactional attorneys are the shields. In fact, the goal of transactional attorneys is to write ironclad contracts or other documents) that will help their clients avoid litigation altogether.

To successfully draft a contract and shield clients from messy disputes, a transactional attorney must anticipate potential legal issues. An essential function of transactional attorneys is to see into the future of the contract.

Armed with a red pen, they scrutinize the contractual language from different parties' perspectives and plug legal holes in the language. Good legal prophecies can help to keep the attorney and client out of court.

3. Transactional attorneys try to grow the pie

Litigators often look at the world as a zero sum game -- you either win a case, or you lose a case. Unlike litigators, transactional attorneys have the magical ability to make that pie grow. Because they are outside the courtroom, they can reject the zero sum mentality by drafting contracts in a way that makes everyone happy.

That being said, they still aim to capture the largest piece of the pie and maximize their client's gains from the deal. Whoever said that you can't have your cake and eat it, too, should have tried a transactional pie.

Many people think transactional attorneys are limited to drafting the fine print on corporate boilerplate forms. Transactional attorneys focus on the drafting, execution, and administration of a range of legal needs including: real estate transfers, property management, wills and trusts, employment contracts, corporate issues, and intellectual property agreements.

5. Transactional attorneys deal with the law less

An interesting fact about transactional attorneys is that they engage less with the laws on the books and more with common drafting practices. Litigators, on the other hand, rely heavily on cases, statutes and legal research.

The bottom line is that transactional and litigation attorneys inhabit different realms of the legal system. While litigators strut their stuff in front of the TV, transactional attorneys have their shirtsleeves rolled up in the back.

If you find yourself in need of a shield, check out a pre-paid LegalStreet plan with an attorney who can help you affordably handle your contract drafting needs and help you stay out of court.

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