For those of you who would do anything to avoid hiring a lawyer, we suggest that you pick up the September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports.
CU rated three well-known DIY legal sites and found them to be no match for a pro even at the most simple tasks. Photographers, illustrators and artists require the use of paperwork which takes into consideration a multitude of issues and factors such as copyright, payment (and late payment) terms, media usage and so forth. The sample invoice in our book Photographer’s Survival Manual addresses those key issues and many others.
CU found that using either Legal Zoom, Nolo or Rocket Lawyer is generally better than drafting documents yourself if you have no legal training. But unless your needs are “extremely simple” you are better off with a lawyer. We have never encountered a photographer or any creative type, whose legal/business needs were “extremely simple”. Anyhow, you need not take our word for it but you ought think twice before going against both our advice and that of the unbiased Consumer’s Union. If you are in business, you will need the assistance of a lawyer and even an accountant. Just like photographers lament people who hire “Uncle Jimmy”, “Aunt Julie”, or “Average Joe” to take photos, rather than hiring a professional photographer, we ask, “Why aren’t you using a professional for your needs?”