Top 5% of Contract Lawyers in Austin, Texas | UpCounsel

Austin Contract Attorneys & Lawyers

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Lisa T.

Lisa Thorsen

47 reviews
Licensed in California and Texas, Lisa Thorsen focuses on corporate contracts and transactions, trusts and estates, real estate, and startups. She previously worked as an associate attorney at Circuit, McKellogg, Kinney & Ross, LLP for six and a half years and spent the past 3 years in private practice as a solo practitioner. Ms. Thorsen has 8+ years of experience practicing law as a licensed attorney.
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Joseph L.

Joseph Leak

9 reviews
When you have a legal dispute, having an attorney who can both litigate and negotiate deals is an invaluable resource. Joseph Leak has both a litigation and a business practice that extends to individuals, startups, and regional and national businesses. He can deal with issues related to securities, real estate, business entity formation or selection, fundraising, and civil litigation.
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Nicolle M.

Nicolle Muehr

9 reviews
Nicole is a top-rated lawyer who represents businesses in many cases related to employment and business law for clients in Texas and around the country. She began her own firm, Nanasy Muehr, out of a drive to better serve clients without the overhead of larger firms. She is highly rated in the industry with recognition from The American Lawyer Magazine among other organizations.
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Jennifer C.

Jennifer Carroll

5 reviews
Your startup is important to you and Jennifer Carroll will help you fund it and protect it. Ms. Carroll specializes in angel, seed, or Series A round venture financing deals, so she can get your business started on the right foot with a solid financing framework. Ms. Carroll can also help your startup with patent and trademark issues as well as licensing and development agreements.
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Jeffrey L.

Jeffrey Lambert, Esq. Mpa

4 reviews
Representing many different business clients, Jeffrey Lambert has experience in both startups and expansion. He once sat second chair on a case involving $165 million sale of an oilfield services company, as well as leading a three party purchase at the value of $20 million. His experience expands to estate transactions - commercial and residential - and litigation. When it comes to service estates, Jeffrey is familiar with interpreting easements and servitudes.
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Dennis J.

Dennis James

4 reviews
Dennis James is a passionate Attorney who has previously worked as a Partner in a large Dallas law firm, as well as a Tokyo law firm. Currently, he lives in Austin, Texas handling matters such as formation, private financing, commercial agreements, governance and technology licensing. He attended SMU and obtained his J.D., as well as his MBA as a Law Review Editor. He also studied Finance with the Indiana University.
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Kristin S.

Kristin Scheel Downes

3 reviews
Kristin Scheel has over 12 years of experience in dealing with commercial agreements. She also specializes in employment, business and other commercial legal matters. Kristin is licensed to practice law in Texas. She has received numerous awards, including a Super Lawyer award and a Reverse Pitch Mentor award in 2015. She has worked with Emerson Process Management, Welsh LeBlanc and Brown Sims in the past. Kristin is currently the managing partner at Scheel Legal.
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Robert M.

Robert Mckee

2 reviews
Robert Mckee is a business and patent attorney with a primary focus on data privacy law. He is also acquainted with commercial contracts and employment law. Robert has been licensed to practice law in Texas and California. Robert is also a member of the California Patent Bar Association. He has five years’ experience as a lawyer. Robert obtained his legal degree from the University of Houston Law Center. He has been an attorney at Hulsey, PC since August 2016.
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Irma J.

Irma Jacobson

2 reviews
Irma Jacobson is an attorney at law with over five years of experience. She is licensed to practice law in Texas and obtained a Juris Doctorate degree in law after she graduated from the University of Houston. Irma focuses on providing legal assistance to entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She is also skilled in drafting, reviewing and negotiating commercial contracts. Irma has been serving as the founding attorney of her own law firm, Jacobson PLLC, since January 2018.
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Michael S.

Michael Smith

6 reviews
Michael’s practice primarily serves small businesses and he deals extensively with complex contract and licensing negotiations, particularly intellectual property licensing. In many cases, he is the general counsel overseeing the legal needs a growing company may have. He has also been involved with dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration, and litigation in state and federal courts.
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Legal Tips and Information



What Makes a Great Contract Attorney?


If you’re on the lookout for a contract attorney, you may be somewhat lost concerning what qualities make for a great contract attorney – especially if you do not have prior experience working with an attorney in the past.  When considering an attorney, try to find one who exhibits the following qualities.


Willing to Explain Confusing Provisions


As a layperson, you are likely to find that many contract provisions you encounter are not easily understood.  You should not execute any contract unless you fully understand the provisions that you are agreeing to.  Before you move forward, make sure that you speak with your attorney about any confusing contract provisions.  The ideal Austin contract attorney will be willing and able to help you understand all the material provisions of your contract.


Advises on Favorable and Unfavorable Terms


Your attorney should not simply be a tool for drafting your contract.  The best contract attorneys in Austin – as in other cities – provide supplementary advisory services as necessary.  Specifically, your attorney should ensure that you are apprised of the strategic advantages and disadvantages of various contract terms.  Above all, your attorney should seek to ensure that you are an informed client so that you are in a better position to assert your interests. 


Drafts Customized Agreements


Unfortunately, it is quite common for contract attorneys to reduce their workload by making heavy use of “form” agreements.  Skeleton contracts are perfectly fine to use as a structure, but you should avoid working with an attorney who is too dependent on familiar contract provisions.  Your attorney must be able to draft a customized contract with provisions specifically tailored to your needs.


To confirm that the attorneys you find on UpCounsel meets these quality standards, be sure to check their ratings and reviews.  UpCounsel also keeps track of repeat customers, which is a fairly accurate representation of customer satisfaction.  If an attorney does not have many ratings or reviews on the platform, you can still assess their compatibility – get in contact with them to setup an initial consultation.  Based on the interaction, you may be able to get a sense for the particular skillset and client-engagement-style of the attorney.



Breach of Contract and Minimizing Risk of Litigation


One aspect of contracts that laypeople do not often understand is that breach is a perfectly reasonable (and common) strategy.  There are costs associated with breach, of course – whether that cost is recovered by virtue of a lawsuit, an informal settlement, or through a damages clause in the contract – but the costs associated with breach of contract may be sensible when compared to the costs associated with completing the contract.


As breach of contract is not entirely uncommon, it is important to take steps to minimize the risk of litigation in the event of breach.  Litigation can be expensive, time-wasting, and stressful, and is generally best-avoided unless absolutely necessary.


Consider a Liquidated Damages Provision


In a normal breach of contract, damages may be difficult to discern following breach.  To reduce the uncertainty of breach (and provide for a legal remedy without having to go through litigation), some contracts include a liquidated damages clause.  The liquidated damages clause sets a specific damages amount to be paid out to the non-breaching parties in the event of breach.  Inclusion of a liquidated damages clause is a great way to negotiate the true costs of the contract before execution.


Consider Mandatory Arbitration


Mandatory arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that provides an efficient, less expensive, and more private parallel to traditional litigation.  To engage in mandatory arbitration, your contract need only include a provision requiring it.


How does it work?


In mandatory arbitration, a neutral arbitrator is chosen to hear each party’s arguments – the neutral arbitrator is often a judge, attorney, or some other professional who is well-equipped to render judgment and follow various legal procedures.  Afterwards, the arbitrator renders judgment.  The judgment is confirmed by a court of law and thus becomes final.


Arbitration is quicker, cheaper, and arguably fairer than traditional litigation.  It is also private.  Each party can be made to sign confidentiality agreements requiring that the content of the arbitration not be made public.  By comparison, civil lawsuits are fundamentally public matters and the information revealed during such litigation is available to the public at-large.



Written Contracts vs. Oral Contracts


Unfortunately, too many individuals – and occasionally even small businesses – make use of oral contracts in their dealings with others.  Oral contracts are generally discouraged if they are intended to govern serious and significant matters.  Under Texas law, oral contracts are enforceable and valid, but there are situations wherein written contracts are required by law or simply beneficial in other ways.


Written Contracts Improve Certainty


Even if a written contract is not necessary, it is generally good practice to draft and execute written contracts rather than entering into oral contracts.  Written contracts make explicitly clear the terms of the agreement, and more plainly demonstrate that each contracting party is aware of the material terms.  Further, written contracts provide evidence for a dispute.  In the event that there is a breach of contract and a dispute arises, the content of the written agreement is admissible as evidence of the shared understanding of the contracting parties.


The Statute of Frauds


The Statute of Frauds in Texas, as in other states, requires that certain contracts be put into writing in order to be valid.  To put it simply: though oral contracts are generally enforceable in Texas, in some situations, written contracts are exclusively enforceable.


The Statute of Frauds requires that contracts be in written form when concerning the following: a) estate planning (such as a Will or a Trust); b) guarantees; c) the sale of real estate; d) the sale of goods priced at over $500; e) the sale of securities; and f) any contracts lasting more than 1 year from the time of execution.

For example, suppose that you hire a construction team to remodel your home.  The remodeling is quite extensive.  You agree in an oral conversation with the construction team manager to have your house remodeled over the course of a year.  This situation would lead to a voidable contract, which means that any party can terminate or otherwise breach the contract without consequence.

Had the oral contract to hire the construction team been for less than a year, then the contract would be deemed valid and enforceable under Texas law – though it would still be worthwhile having the contracted put in writing, of course.

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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand Austin Contract Attorneys

The Austin contract attorneys & lawyers on UpCounsel are dedicated to helping businesses save time, money, and peace of mind with contract drafting and review, negotiations, litigation support, discovery, commercial business transactions, and more.

Our independent contract attorneys are available on-demand to provide contract legal services for businesses or to support your in-house general counsel to help lighten the load for transactional matters or litigation support.

Although the work of the Austin contract attorneys found on UpCounsel often varies they are highly experienced in legal contract activities such as commercial contract negotiations, document review in response to document subpoenas, request for production of documents, legal research, draft legal briefs, along with providing a full range of other contract legal services to businesses of any size.

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