Everything is Negotiable: Caution and Contracts
It may be easy to click the box, indicating you’ve read the fine print online, but Scott Slawson, McDonough Law Attorney, suggests a bit more caution, especially in contractual agreements regarding your business.
He has heard many clients insist that contracts are “merely boilerplate,” but said when another party is penning the contract; they’re adding clauses to the contract they desire that might not always be in the best interest of all involved.
“It may be words used in typical contracts, but all elements are negotiable,” he said.
Slawson recommends thinking through the contract, considering the amount of investment at stake, and thinking through potential challenges and the results if a lawsuit were to be filed. Every contract should be reviewed by a litigator, because they have seen numerous challenges to contracts in court. He reviews contracts with his litigation experience at the ready and suggests changes like requiring the other party to carry insurance that can serve as an ounce of prevention to avoid disaster.
“I like to work proactively with businesses to deal with risk mitigation,” he said. “We’ll have people come in and present a contract saying it’s just boilerplate. Nothing is boilerplate. People put things in contracts for reasons, and if it’s not your contract, someone else has written that contract to include things they want and to leave out things they don’t want.”
Everything in a contract, he said, is negotiable, and signing one on the assumption that it’s “boilerplate” can cause serious problems in the future. And an outright failure to have a contract, he said, is something that astonishes him but happens with relative frequency and has led many companies and businesses to seek his counsel.
“When you leave yourself open to that sort of situation, it could be ugly if something goes wrong,” he said. “Inevitably, if you are in business for long enough, something will go wrong whether or not it’s your fault.”
Protecting everyone involved through contracts is critically important for businesses and individuals. Business partners also ought to have contracts and details spelled out in the controlling documents of a company to avoid fallout and disaster if the unforeseen occurs.
If you need a contract written or reviewed, please schedule a consultation with us today.