Preventing backdating of
An erroneous assessment of a client’s veracity, even if made innocently, can lead to severe consequences if the backdating perpetrates a fraud.Prudent lawyers should refrain from backdating if they are uncertain about when the relevant acts took place.Perhaps the most fraudulent form of impermissible backdating is documenting and dating an act that never occurred. Additionally, backdating is impermissible when the backdated document describes an act that actually occurred, but at a date subsequent to the date of the document, in order to secure benefits to which a party is not entitled.
To protect themselves, their firms and their clients, attorneys should always be certain their backdating falls into the latter category.Yet, for the business lawyer, backdating documents is often not only permissible, but is a regular and necessary part of everyday practice.The challenge for the business lawyer is determining when backdating is legitimate and when it is not.Insufficient or nonexistent records, human errors in recalling past events and injudicious reliance on the observations of others can all lead to backdating that misrepresents.
A lawyer should be certain of the relevant facts before backdating a document.Consequently, backdating the document formalizing the agreement to the date the parties struck the deal can be precarious.