Many health and wellness coaches obtain free legal templates through their coaching certification or training programs. These templates might include services agreements, waiver or disclaimer documents, and even privacy policies or other essential legal documents for a compliant coaching practice. The essential question about these free templates is whether they are worth using? Are the templates good enough for a health coaching startup business?
Lawyers Don’t Like Them
There are a number of articles on this topic. And if you ask any lawyer, of course you know what they will say: boilerplate legal templates, such as a contractor agreement, are a bad idea because they are not tailored to what each individual client needs. And, because the health or wellness coach is not usually well-versed in the law, they are not expert enough to know whether the template they want to use is any good. For many lawyers, their source of income is through drafting agreements; they usually charge by the hour to do such work (though sometimes they will charge a flat fee per agreement). As a result, attorneys are not financially incentivized to endorse legal templates (unless they created the templates).
But Despite their Flaws, They are Tempting to Use
Nevertheless, free templates are tempting to the typical coach because of the following reasons:
- They are easily accessible
- They are free, so not a strain on the coach’s budget
- They give a sense of security, even if false
- Few people understand or appreciate the value of legal services from a well-trained lawyer.
That last point is really the fault of the legal profession and not the coach. For most individuals, lawyers are inaccessible. As a group, we are expensive and archaic. For a lot of people, how lawyers earn their money or how they can help the average person in civil/transactional matters is a bit of a mystery. Lawyers must do a better job educating the public about the value we can bring to a business, such as a startup health or wellness coaching business. I hope to contribute to those education efforts as my wellness law career grows.
The Final Verdict: Template Agreements Can Be Useful
I definitely think that templates are overall a good thing for consumers, if they are done with the specific end user in mind. In the case of contractor agreements for health and wellness coaches, the ideal source for template agreements would be from a legal organization that specializes in helping health and wellness service providers. Contract templates that are created by general business lawyers often lack the necessary language to help health and wellness service providers avoid regulatory risk. Because the healthcare industry is regulated so heavily by federal and state governments, it is vital for a health and wellness service provider to incorporate the correct language in their written materials, including contractor agreements and client service agreements, to ensure that the proper expectations are set. General business lawyers most likely do not have the specialized education to understand the specific language needed in template agreements that they would otherwise create.
Unfortunately, obtaining these specialized contractor agreements or client agreements for health and wellness providers is usually not free. There is a cost to acquiring the specialized knowledge that is needed to draft these more specific agreements. The legal experts who draft these more specific agreements incurred those costs through years of study and practice. In order to recoup those costs, they must charge a fee. However, the fee does not need to be exorbitant (by regular lawyer fee standards). But there often must be some fee to help pay for the investment in knowledge gained that ultimately benefits the health and wellness service provider.
Our firm has created a number of legal templates, tailored to health and wellness service providers. Our product offerings range from a full startup kit for health and wellness coaches, to an a la carte menu of legal templates, training videos, books, and checklists. Because our firm specializes in serving the health and wellness industry, we pride ourselves in the unique insight we bring to all the work we do, including the creation of the legal templates and resources available for purchase on our website. If you have any questions about these templates or our wellness law services in general, please reach out to us at www.wellnesslaw.com.