Passive Guy has decided to restart his law practice to provide assistance in contract drafting, redrafting, negotiation and analysis.
While he’ll do this for a wide range of contracts, he has a particular interest in contracts authors sign with publishers and agents.
Before he tells you where his shingle hangs, let him answer some questions:
Question: I read the blog post in which you talked about becoming a Consulting Agent. Why didn’t you do that?
I decided to do this as an attorney for two main reasons:
1. Only attorneys are permitted to practice law. While some contract matters can be handled by a literary agent, the agent can only go so far without crossing the line into practicing law. It’s not a clear line.
If I were working for authors as a special type of literary agent, I would have consulted about contract provisions, but could not provide legal advice even if I felt legal advice was necessary. By re-activating my bar membership, I don’t need to worry about the line between consulting and legal advice and can go wherever required to help my clients.
2. Since I’m an attorney, any communications I have with clients are automatically protected under laws governing attorney/client confidentiality. An author can provide me with information knowing it will be kept confidential. Confidential information would also include my analysis of an author’s contracts and any suggestions I provide the author for dealing with those contracts.
Under most circumstances, an attorney may not divulge confidential information concerning a client unless a judge orders him to do so. It is very difficult to persuade a court to issue such an order. Since there is no protection for communications between an agent and author, the attorney/client privilege provides my clients with much stronger protection.
Question: Now that you will be working for paying clients, does that mean you won’t blog about book contracts any more?
No. I will continue to blog about book contracts and discuss various components of publishing contracts and agency contracts on my blog. I’m not a believer in hiding knowledge. I’m a believer in spreading knowledge.
Question: Are you still writing a book about publishing contracts?
Question: If people read your book about publishing contracts, won’t that mean they don’t need to hire you as an attorney?
In some cases, my book may answer all their questions and they won’t need to hire me or another attorney to help them understand their contracts.
However, no book can possibly deal with all the different variations and twists in book contracts, some of which are being developed as I write this or answer all possible questions that arise from a relationship of publisher to author or agent to author.
Question: You make some pretty snarky comments on your blog. If I hire you, will you be snarky and sarcastic with me?
No. That would be extremely unprofessional and I would never treat a client, friend or associate that way. My sarcastic commentary is almost always directed at people or organizations that I believe mistreat authors or take unfair advantage of them.
Question: I know you ask people to contribute to your Contract Collection on your blog, then you use those contracts as a basis for some of your blog posts. If I hire you to help me with a contract, will my contract go into your Contract Collection?
No. Unless a client says otherwise, their contract is confidential information, subject to the same attorney/client confidentiality protections as any other information they provide to me. As an attorney, I am ethically prohibited from disclosing any client confidences.
If a client decides to contribute their contract to the Contract Collection, they may choose to do so. However, I will never raise the subject or make any suggestion to that effect. My default assumption is that any documents a client provides me are confidential.
Question: What happens to Passive Guy?
I’ve become quite attached to Passive Guy and he will continue to reign supreme on this blog, saying things that most attorneys wouldn’t say, acting as my wise-guy doppelgänger. Sometimes, PG perks up my day just as I hope he perks up yours. After this post, it’s back to third person.
Before the curtain goes back, here’s a request:
I have tried to make my new site as complete and comprehensive as possible. Since I expect to meet face-to-face with few, if any clients, I’ve provided much more information about my background than is typical for attorneys’ websites so people can hopefully gain some of the understanding of who I am and how I approach problems that they would in a face-to-face meeting.
Several people have kindly reviewed the new site and given me their comments. However, I’m acutely aware of problems that can occur with online announcements of new businesses and am just as susceptible to blind spots regarding what I’ve written as anyone else.
If I’ve failed to include something important, if anything I’ve written has the wrong tone or I’ve committed some other faux pas, please let me know via my Contact Page so I can fix it.
Reaching the end of my nattering and feeling the trepidation of the man behind the curtain, here is http://www.contract-counsel.com/