The contract negotiations are done, both sides agree on principle to move forward, and you’re on the home stretch of getting a deal done. But no matter the type of contract – hiring a small business to pour a concrete pad or trying to close a multi-million dollar merger – we highly recommend a final contract review before signing anything.
It should go without saying, of course. But verbal agreements or handshake deals just don’t hold the same weight as a legally binding contract. By using a lawyer review, you’ll ensure everything that you agreed to is in the contract without any last-second additions or changes.
A legal contract review is a process where the minutiae of a contract – the fine print if you will – is put under the magnifying glass. You may be satisfied with the major points, but it’s the minor points that you’re not paying attention to that could end up costing you in the future.
What to look for during a legal contract review
In most cases, this isn’t to ferret out intentional malfeasance – it’s just to make sure the contents are what you agreed to. So many contracts use boilerplate content as a timesaver and changes are made when necessary. If there are mistakes, it’s usually due to human error. A contract review is designed to clean up those errors.
The review will look at something as simple as formatting or dates as well as language and certain terminology. No matter what was agreed to verbally, if it isn’t in the contract, it doesn’t apply. When hiring a contract lawyer we recommend using an experienced contract attorney to perform your contract review and allow enough time for a thorough examination.
This includes unclear language, terms of default, and industry language that could be left up to interpretation. When possible, replace any ambiguous language with specific contract language, even if all parties agree to what that language means. Using direct language removes the possibility of future conflicts.
This includes clear language when one of the parties is unable to fulfill their obligations as laid out by the contract. Obligations, penalties, forfeitures, and other ramifications should be covered to protect both parties and to avoid lengthy, drawn-out battles in court.
The contract could be in place for a few months or until one of the parties decides to part ways. Regardless of the case, those dates should be clearly outlined. This will also include times when the contract can be renegotiated, termination times, deliverable deadlines, and other important dates.
Although it may seem like a minor detail, removing blank spaces from the contract is advised. These spaces are common when drawing up new contracts, but they allow for additional content to be added after the fact. Depending on the circumstances, these spaces could lead to costly outcomes.
Typically, both parties negotiate the contract with the best intentions in mind. But there are times when personalities, emotions, and egos get in the way. Even after a contract has been agreed on verbally, always make sure to hire an experienced law firm to ensure everything is just as it should be.
Horenstein Law Group has been offering contract reviews, contract negotiation, and other business legal services for decades. Our past years of experience, coupled with the newest technology, allow our attorneys to review your contracts completely and efficiently. In need of a contract review, help with other legal documents, or legal advice for your business? Contact Horenstein Law Group today.