Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a charming lady who spent most of her time as a dog breeder. She agreed with a similarly minded lady-friend to share ownership of a specific dog and take turns showing the animal at kennel club shows. They decided that, since they knew what they meant, they’d write the agreement themselves. Why pay a lawyer?
Well, the two had a falling out. The document they drafted, I am sad to say, made little sense. Each spent inordinate sums litigating, and that was probably a small amount compared to the emotional cost of suing each other.
Having an attorney draft the initial contract might not have prevented the falling out. It might have exposed disagreement early on, though, when it would have been easier for them to get back on the same page. And it would have made litigation more clear-cut and less expensive.
And while this case settled before trial, interpreting an ambiguous contract gives rise to disputes that do not always end that quickly. They are the kind of disagreement that are ripe not only for trial, but for appeals after that.
In law, the old proverb holds true. An ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of cure.