New Hire Paperwork
If you have a job, you have an employment contract. Most of the time it is just an oral agreement, but for jobs in certain industries, you are besieged with pages and pages of more complex contracts regarding compensation, intellectual property, confidentiality, arbitration, and the like.
If you understand all of the language and the pitfalls, feel free to sign. If you do not, it is cheaper to hire an attorney to start than two years later if you want out of the contract.
Furthermore, if you are an employer and want to protect yourself with non-compete clauses and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and other specialized clauses, it is better to consult with an attorney before making an offer. The laws in these areas are complex, and tend to evolve regularly.
On the other side of the equation, often times when you leave a job the employer will offer a severance package. This is typically not out of the goodness of their heart, as corporations have no heart. Instead, this is really a settlement agreement by which they are paying you off to not later sue them for something.
Most such agreements tell you to consult a lawyer, others by law are required that your employer give you the chance to consult with one. There is a reason for that, in that, again, you are trading your right to file a lawsuit against your former employer in exchange for money. Is that amount fair? Maybe, but an attorney can help you understand if it is fair, and potentially negotiate something better.
For employers, vice versa. Make sure you are covering your bases with an attorney before you fire someone. Also make sure you then have the employee's final paycheck ready in a timely manner, or you can be out a lot of money for a small mistake.
At Stevens & Legal, we routinely review all sorts of employment contracts for both employers and employees. That gives us an edge, as we know what to look for from both sides.