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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.The media’s coverage of the stock option scandals caused the public to strongly associate backdating with corporate malfeasance.To the layperson, the term “backdating” is merely another word for lying, cheating, and stealing.

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Typically, this ensured the options were already “in the money” when the company granted them to employees.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.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.

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