Unless one is very experienced at it and has done it many, many times, if one undertakes to negotiate a contract without counsel, one is setting himself or herself up for legal problems down the road which can be more expensive in attorney fees than the cost of engagement to negotiate a contract. Legal counsel can help one navigate the ins and outs of a powerful and effective contract while avoiding the pitfalls of a poorly executed one, thereby minimizing risk.
When Negotiating Contracts
Some of the reasons that one can benefit from having an attorney present during the negotiation and drafting phase of a contract are:
1) Protects your interests – An attorney can try to guide the negotiation process to help one procure the things that matter most to in the final draft of the contract.
2) Keeps emotion out of the negotiations and establish and maintain objectivity.
3) Facilitates a valid, compliant, and durable contract – by calling on professional experience and knowledge of applicable laws and procedures. It doesn’t matter if both parties agree to the terms of the contract if those terms are not legally sound and enforceable.
4) Establishes comprehensive, definitive terms to the agreement without ambiguity or gaps in terms and conditions. When executed, one will want the contract to be meaningful and effective to the best extent possible and not easily circumvented.
Having an attorney on hand at the start of a new contractual agreement is a wise choice. It brings the serious thought and attention to detail required to complete the negotiation process and effect the parties’ intentions. A good contract should set the rules for the business relationship or arrangement, and legal counsel can get that done right – from the very beginning, by beginning with the contract negotiations.
Many people try to do all this on their own or worse sign contracts (without attorney review) drafted by companies which had a skilled lawyer draft them so that the company would have maximum leverage and minimal risk. It is only later after the company has offended or damaged the party who didn’t engage counsel during negotiations that the latter goes to a lawyer. But by then the contract has already been executed and the only hope may be to see if the contract can be rescinded or otherwise annulled, which can be difficult and risky propositions without any guarantee of success. Plus it often will entail expensive litigation all of which could have been avoided had proper preventive measures been taken.
If you have questions about these kinds of matters, you may contact Ilam Smith for more information.