Today we live in a world filled with contracts; from using your credit card at the grocery store, to purchasing Disneyland tickets, everyone comes into contact with a contract at some point. Most daily contracts won’t affect your legal rights in a substantial way, but some contracts are more important and should be thoroughly read and reviewed before hurriedly signing on the dotted line. A great number of people sign important contracts without even reading or understanding what they are agreeing to, frequently resulting in costly mistakes.

Legal Contract Reviews

If you have an important contract to draft or sign, you may benefit from a legal contract review before signing. A legal contract review typically involves consulting with an attorney who then thoroughly drafts and/or reviews all of the contract(s) for a given matter, and then has a meaningful discussion regarding their findings with you at the end.

Findings could include typos, as well as structural, logical or legal defects within the contract(s). A legal review usually includes identification of any potential financial, legal and business risks. An experienced contract attorney will also include suggestions on how and what to negotiate.

If you’re thinking of drafting or signing an important contract, here are some basic tips:

  1. All important contracts should be in writing.Although oral agreements are legal and binding in many situations, they’re often difficult to enforce in court. A written agreement is also less risky than an oral agreement, because you have a document that clearly spells out each party’s rights and obligations in case of confusion or disagreement.
  2. Confirm that you are dealing with the right person. Don’t waste time negotiating a contract with someone who has little or no authority to enter into the contract. The person with appropriate authority to bind the business also holds vested interest in making sure the business performs its obligations under the agreement. If you are unsure of whom that person is, you will want to contact an experienced attorney to assist.
  3. Spell out all of the details. The contract should identify the rights and obligations of each party in detail. Don’t leave anything out; if it is discussed verbally, it should be written into the contract.
  4. Specify all payment obligations. The contract should state who pays whom, when the payments must be made, and the conditions for making payments.
  5. Agree upon which circumstances will terminate the contract. Often called Breach of Contract clauses, these ensure that if one party fails to keep the terms of the contract, the other party has a remedy.
  6. Agree upon a way to resolve disputes. Contracts should always include how and where to resolve disputes, should they arise. You can decide that you will handle your disputes through arbitration or mediation instead of the more costlyand time-consumingoption of going to court.

When it comes to important contracts, contact the experienced contract attorneys at SmileyLaw.

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Seth Smiley
Seth is an attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana and California. He is the owner and lead attorney at Smiley Law Firm. To speak with Seth fill out the form on this page.
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