Why Should a Lawyer Be Involved in Contract Negotiations?
September 7, 2023
You are finally close to wrapping up that business deal and just need to reduce your agreement with the other party to writing. You trust the other person with whom you are contracting, and so you do not think twice about signing when they place before you a “standard” contract with “boilerplate” terms. You wonder what harm could come from signing a contract that just memorializes what you and this other person have orally agreed to?
Turns out, signing such a contract can be unfavorable for you and your business. Successfully negotiating a contract is a skill that is crucial to protecting your business from needless litigation and legal turmoil.
So before you sign on the dotted line, enlist the help of the attorneys at Lazarus to assist you in negotiating a better, fairer, and more useful contract.
Hidden Dangers in Contract Negotiations
No matter how savvy of a businessperson you are, having experienced legal help in negotiating a contract can assist you in avoiding situations that can cost you time and money later on. These potential contract pitfalls include:
Ambiguous Terms and Provisions
Ambiguous terms are those that are not definite or that can be interpreted in multiple ways. You may not realize that these terms are ambiguous until there has been a breach of the contract and you sue for damages. Then, you may find yourself tied up in costly litigation focused on interpreting a single word or phrase. A contract you negotiated yourself to save money has now become a money pit for you and your business.
Having experienced legal help during contract negotiations gives you a second set of seasoned eyes to review the contract before you sign. Your attorney can spot potentially ambiguous words and phrases and offer suggestions on how to make them more definite. Doing this can ensure both you and the other party are on the same page when it comes to the contract’s material terms.
Unfavorable and Disadvantageous Terms
It is easy to develop a myopic view when it comes to your contract. You are so focused on getting the “one big thing” that you are willing to acquiesce to the other party’s demands. Before you know it, you got the contract but it comes with burdensome terms that are disadvantageous to you and your business operations.
Anyone can negotiate a contract, but having a skilled attorney with considerable experience by your side during the process can make the difference. You can expect an attorney to review your contract carefully and look for provisions that expose you to liability or that give the other party an unfair advantage over you. Your attorney can then explore with you and the other party ways to make the terms less one-sided and more advantageous to you.
Inability to See the Long-Term Effects
Even when a contract precisely expresses your agreement and treats you and the other party fairly, you may not fully appreciate how the contract may impact your future plans or ambitions. A non-compete clause, for instance, may limit your ability to offer your services or product to others for a set period of time. Or you might be unable to take personal advantage of a deal that your business did not seize upon.
With a knowledgeable attorney’s assistance, you can look into the future to see the various ways in which this contract will impact you – ways both intended and unintended – before you sign. This will help you make a more informed decision as to whether you are ready to enter into the contract or whether further negotiations and revisions are necessary.
Court is where contractual disputes and disagreements are resolved. It is also where you can waste a considerable amount of time and money. Imagine being ready to move forward on a significant project and then having to halt because your business’ resources are needed to pay for litigation. Or you would like to expand your operations but your mind is too focused on your current lawsuit to make good decisions.
An attorney with experience will seek to help you avoid court wherever possible through the terms of the contract. This can include adding terms requiring arbitration, mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, before your case can be submitted to a court.
When to Enlist an Attorney’s Assistance with Your Contract
Many business owners view an attorney or legal professional akin to law enforcement: you call them in an emergency. Such an approach can cause you needless worry and difficulties. When you finally realize you are in over your head and need help with contract negotiations, your attorney may have to unravel the entire agreement and start from the beginning in order to adequately protect you.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Teaming up with your contract negotiation attorney in the early stages of your negotiations can save you time and money in the long term. Not only this, but a skilled negotiator can free you from the need to have tense or unpleasant negotiation sessions in order to secure the best terms.
Reach Out Today for Help from Lazarus
If you anticipate needing a contract in the near future, now is the time to speak with the Lazarus team. Our team prides themselves on being an asset to you and your business. We want to help you avoid legal messes in the future, which is why we work so hard to protect you and your business’ interests in the contract negotiation stage.
No matter where you are at in your negotiations, the Lazarus team is eager to help you and your business.