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Contract Writing For Dummies


Writing a contract and agreeing to it can be one of the biggest challenges of your working relationship with a client. The contract has to reflect exactly what it is you both expect as an outcome from your relationship. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Contract Writing For Dummies

Contract Writing For Dummies
Writing a contract and agreeing to it can be one
of the biggest challenges of your working
relationship with a client. The contract has to
reflect exactly what it is you both expect as an
outcome from your relationship. Agreeing on a
contract with a client is almost as important as
choosing the right partner to marry. If you dont
get it right, you could end up in court and out
of pocket the result being a lost client and a
damaged ego. So getting the contract, spot on, to
reflect your two-way relationship, as well as the
expectations and outcomes, is vital. Ive
done contract writing the right way, and Ive
done it the wrong way. I learned a hard lesson
when contracts that I thought were concrete
turned out to be not worth the paper they were
written on. And conversely, Ive also found out
that contracts I had relied on had additional
clauses entered without my knowledge that I had
to dispute in court. In this guide, Ill go
through the various steps to help you think
through the process of contract writing,
agreement, and signing, with a bit of contract
law thrown in for good measure.
Consideration one Preliminary discussions before
contract writing First things first, before even
thinking about writing a contract you need to
have a baseline from which to work. Talk through
with your client what your expectations are.
Ideally, capture this in a series of emails or
messages as you can refer back to during contract
writing (or later if needs be). Consideration
two Know how contract law will affect you Weve
got a blog post which goes over in more detail
some contract law so you can avoid some of the
pitfalls. For example, are the parties entering
into the contract legal entities? In the U.S.
this means, amongst other things, you must be
over 18, and not bankrupt to legally enter into a
contract. Consideration three Writing a
contract using a template If you are creating
a standard contract, such as a Non-Disclosure
Agreement (NDA), you may well already have a
template. Ive got an example here of an NDA Ive
used in a previous business (shown below). I used
the same sort of format across a number of
However, I did have a lawyer help create it, and
advise on important clauses. Signature platforms
like ApproveMe allow you to store contract
templates for reuse. Templates are a very useful
tool to save time, and reduce mistakes. DOWNLOAD 
NDA DOCUMENT Consideration four Contract
considerations Considerations are the things
that both parties agree to. So, for example, this
could be the payment amount and terms. Payment,
in particular, seems to be a sticking point in
contracts, so it is best to get to get payment
terms totally firmed up and very clearly set
out. In the case of an NDA, considerations are
fairly straightforward. In the case of the NDA
below, pretty much everything under the It is
agreed section, covers the considerations, for
example keep in confidence any Confidential
Information disclosed to it by the other party
and will not disclose that Confidential
Information to any person
In a contract that requires deliverables, such as
a set of wireframes for a website, you would set
out exactly what the deliverables were when they
would be delivered (give exact dates, do not be
vague) and what the cost of each deliverable was.
In other words, dont leave anything at all open
for discussion, make it very plain so there can
be no misunderstanding about what the contract
expectations are. In the world of contract
writing, vagaries are our enemy. CLICK TO
TWEET Consideration five Keeping it
confidential Our contract example is an NDA
which is by definition about confidentiality.
However, even contracts where you are doing an
exchange of deliverables/money, you should still
consider adding a confidentiality clause into it,
to make sure that any ideas or proprietary
information that either of you share, is
protected. Consideration six Get out of jail
free card
An important option to build into a contract is
the idea of termination. Having a termination
clause in a contract means that either party,
with a given reason, can cancel the contract.
Ive had contracts where this clause has been a
simple if either party wishes to terminate the
contract, for whatever reason, they can do so
with 3 months notice. A similar clause might go
something like Company name may terminate
this Agreement at any time by providing the
client name with x weeks / months written
notice, without any further obligation or
compensation. However, you should check out
local state laws that might impact on your use of
termination clauses in your area. Consideration
seven Mediation
You and your client may be completely happy
bunnies at the time of agreeing your contract,
but you know what relationships are like, they
can turn sour. In this case, having a clause in
the contract which provides a solution to a
disagreement through arbitration is useful.
Arbitration or the alternative, mediation, is
voluntary and allows both parties to air their
issues with a neutral third party. It is a bit
like marriage guidance, but in the case of
arbitration, the arbitrator will make a decision
to resolve the issue after hearing each sides
views. Consideration eight Professional
advice When drawing up a contract for the first
time, is a good idea to use a lawyer. It might
seem like a lot of money, but its cheaper than a
court case believe me. Work with the lawyer to
get a boilerplate contract that you can use as a
template for other clients. This way you can use
it in an e-signature platform like ApproveMe as
part of a workflow process to create, agree,
sign, and complete a contract. Consideration
nine Do it online
One of the things that holds up a contract
signing process is the time it takes to
distribute the contract and collect the
signatures, especially if there are multiple
signatures needed. If you use an e-signature
platform that complies with digital signature
laws, like ESIGN, and that has built in workflow
and audit capability, you can get a contract
agreed, signed, sealed, and delivered without
moving from your desk. ApproveMe has all of the
features needed to make sure that once you have
an agreed contract, that abides by contract law,
that the signing of the contract is achieved
easily and seamlessly. Check out the ApproveMe
WordPress plugin which makes signing agreed
contracts easy and lawful.   Article Resource