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With the school year approaching I thought it would be a good time to remind people to do their homework.   Sure, you may be out of school and think you are done with homework, but that is not true.

In court there is a reading of the motions and a list of plaintiffs and defendants for the day. When a name called, the plaintiffs and defendants need to respond that they are present. The list may be long, but some days as many as 50% of the list are not present. If both parties are not in court, then the case is dismissed, but if one party shows up, then that person wins.

In those cases frequently the losing party comes in after the fact, and another date has to be picked, prolonging the proceedings.

The problem is that if you lose and there is a judgment against you, then it is on your credit report for 25 years!

Another time that homework is important is when purchasing a business. An inspection of the books and the property by professionals maybe costly, but it can prevent surprises later- expensive surprises.

Once a contract for a purchase of a business is signed, you are saying that you did your due diligence. After the contract there is no recourse. This means if there is a problem with the space or accounting, then you are unable to go after the seller. You bought the problems.

A little homework, as much as you groan, can save you later.

Cynthia Pasciuto is an attorney, consultant, mediator and educator in Massachusetts who has taught at Bentley University, NIWH and NESA.