Most business people, unfortunately, overlook the "counselor" part in their relationship with an attorney. They strike out and make a business deal, and then come to the lawyer asking to "write it up" or "make it legal." Worse yet, they make their own deal, do not document it properly, and wind up in litigation.
Proceeding in this manner almost invariably leads to higher legal fees and a much poorer result than could have been achieved with a little "counsel" on the front end. An experienced attorney who knows your business will be able to offer advice on how to structure a transaction and how to negotiate it. Sometimes it is best to let the attorney handle the negotiations.
Another reason to get advice and counsel up front is that there may be issues that are not understood that undermine the value of the transaction. Once understood, it may be best not to proceed. Pulling out of a bad potential transaction is often the best possible outcome. As one of my mentors liked to say, "Some of my best deals are the ones I didn't make."
Business people who strike out on their own can come up with some pretty unusual (and that's putting it kindly) ideas. These ideas may be profoundly bad, or they may just be less than the best option. However, once such an idea has been put out on the table and accepted by the other side, it is pretty difficult to take back. A phrase that comes to mind is "you can't un-ring a bell."
Sometimes, clients will write up a draft agreement, or poach one off Internet, or will try to re-use an old agreement. Then they take this to their lawyer and ask the lawyer to "clean it up." Most of the time, they have already shared this with the other side (remember the un-ring the bell thing). I'm certain that clients think they will save money this way. The truth is that there are some things that can't be polished and it is almost always better (and cheaper) for a lawyer to start with a blank sheet of paper.
The worst situation is when a client comes in with a lawsuit that is the inevitable result of a home made contract. Almost every lawyer has had a client walk in and describe what the deal was supposed to have been in great detail. Unfortunately, the home made contract does not reflect that deal. The only certainty in this scenario is that litigation is very expensive.
So if you want to save money on legal fees and if you want to get the best value from the money you spend, call your lawyer for advice and counsel before you make the deal, or at least before you commit. It will result in a better transaction and a more clearly documented transaction. It will lessen the chances of disputes and claims later on.