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  • Are contract reviews worth it?

    I am a fellow and just received a private practice job offer and contract.

    Is it worth it for me to have a lawyer review it?  I am considering having this firm do the contract review (https://www.physicianadvisorsllc.com/) but I am not sure if it is worth the expense and wheter I should look elsewhere.

  • #2
    I dont know anything about the firm, but most certainly it is more than worth it to have the contract reviewed. It may be the best money you ever spend. Doctors are far too often signing without knowing, and then literally paying for that ignorance later. Read a book on it as well, it certainly doesnt hurt. Things you want to iron out for sure include non competes, pay, malpractice, benefits, duties, etc...Make sure the person has experience in physician contracts.

    Dont cheap out here, you will regret it.

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    • #3
      I'm also a fellow joining a private practice and had a lawyer look over my contract before I signed. I went to UpCounsel.com and found a lawyer who was familiar with occupational contract law in my particular state (apparently contract law varies widely from state to state. In the end, there were a few small things that the group was willing to change, but for the most part their answer was, "We all signed this same contract. It is what it is."

       

      If it's a group you really want to join, I would tread lightly with your demands. Most good groups don't need to bend to your every whim because they have a stack full of other qualified applicants itching to sign on the dotted line. Even if you end up signing with them, there may be some residual hostility within the leadership of the group. Those same people will be the ones to decide whether or not you become a partner in a few years.

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      • #4
        I would say probably not.  We just hired a partner and we told him, "Hey, this is that same contract we signed - you can have a lawyer review it if you want, but we know money is probably tight and we won't change it.  If there is anything murky, please ask us, we want you to understand and be satisfied."

         

         

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        • #5
          I agree with toothcarpenter, most of the partners probably signed the same contract you did. I wouldn't request a whole lot of change. You can ask for clarification. Go more on your gut feeling about working with the other people in the group.

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          • #6
            Yes. It is worth reviewing a contract especially for private practice.  Our first contract coming out of residency into private practice was terrible and put us substantially behind financially because of some strange nuances in wording/philosophy. Huge mistake on our part.

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            • #7
              I think it's worth reviewing it for sure. I had a family friend who was a lawyer review mine. Everything worked out so the contract didn't matter. But in retrospect, it would have been well worth a few hundred bucks in fees to have hired someone who does this all day. I have an advertiser (not the firm above) who does contract review work in all 50 states and many readers have been happy with their service.

              The firm above recently applied to advertise on the site and I approved them (for various services.) I have not yet had much reader feedback however, so if you end up hiring them, be sure to let me know how it goes.
              Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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              • #8
                If you are joining an AMC I would highly suggest getting it reviewed by an attorney.  I would also encourage you to ask for other contracts that those who came before you signed.  I have personally experienced signing a contract after being told by the medical director that "its the exact same contract everyone signs" only to find out after signing the contract with a strict non-compete clause that he was lying.

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                • #9
                  Probably depends on the contract.  Some are fairly straightforward but others maybe not.  I suspect the cost isn't all that high for a potentially very important result.  If you don't understand your contract, then yes obviously get it reviewed..

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                  • #10
                    Yes, I believe they are.  I am a fellow joining a private practice group as well.  It is just nice to have someone explain things in simple terms that you will be able to understand, and if there are any red flags.  I went with Contract Diagnostics, as he was recommended on this site.  I dealt directly with Jon Appino.  He was great.  I would highly recommend them. They look over 100's of contracts, and can tell if a contract is reasonable or not.

                     

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                    • #11
                      Contracts are drafted by attorneys and should be reviewed by attorneys. Attorneys are wordsmiths and while a word or two what might not mean much to you, they can mean an awful lot to an attorney.

                      Attorneys are trained to see things that you as a physician will not. It is just that simple. They will also help you understand not only what you are getting into but the ramifications in the event you need to get out - either voluntary or not.

                      If you view the attorney you hired as an expense and not an asset, you hired the wrong attorney.

                       

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                      • #12
                        Why would it matter if thats "what everyone signed"? If they all jump off a bridge....Besides, even though they may all believe that, it is highly unlikely to be true as even small medical groups will continue to learn and shape things in their favor from prior experience. Most new doctors are happy and simply very naive about the private practice world and think it will be similar to academics, it isnt.

                        Besides, its not as if you have to come back with a litany of demands, you are just making sure there arent any clauses that put you at a significant disadvantage. If there is and the practice is offended by you doing your due diligence, then there are other fish in the sea. A contract can hurt you badly, anyone telling you not to at least review it is not taking the safest approach.

                        Finally, if the contract didnt matter, they wouldnt make you sign it in the first place.

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                        • #13
                          I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this, but you might consider asking your CPA or CFP to review with another set of eyes. For example, contract reviews are included in the engagement and I almost always find some points for discussion. Not saying to cut out the attorney, but your financial professional usually brings a different perspective. We review and assist with drafts of Last Wills and Testaments and trusts, so it's not that different. Again, this is not a legal service but from a tax and business view that the attorney may lack. The client typically gives permission for the financial pro to discuss with the attorney.
                          Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                          • #14
                            We (obviously!) think spending a few hundred bucks on understanding what the contracts say is worth it.  While we could type for days on horror stories about physicians that didn't know what their contract said because they 'just signed it' we won't - lets just say with the potential money on the table to earn that investing a little (our packages start at only $200) to understand it (even if you can't negotiate it) would be worth it...contractdiagnostics.com if we can help at all...

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                            • #15
                              I signed up to reply to your question. While I undoubtedly believe you should have your contract reviewed by an attorney, physician advisors is not a company I'd recommend. I used them coming out of residency. They offer discount services and the quality is discounted too. In the end, I went along with the advice of the attorney based in Nebraska who "knew" my state market. I ended up getting caught in a noncompete nightmare with a boss who also ended up taking all of my on call money. A better lawyer would have guided me more soundly. Cost me a lot of time and money to extricate myself out of a situation that could have been avoided altogether. Way more money than I paid for the crap advice.

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