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Basic Dos and Don'ts of Contract Drafting

Good drafting usually makes the difference between a valid contract and an enforceable one.

Poorly drafted contracts are legally valid if they meet the basic requirements. However, poorly drafted contracts are often unenforceable. Or, more properly, poorly drafted contracts are subject to interpretation. A court might interpret a contract much differently than the maker. Oral contracts are similar in many respects. These agreements are legally valid, but the terms are difficult to prove.

Usually, after only one office visit, a Norcross contracts lawyer can draft a specific and legally-enforceable instrument that upholds your legal and financial rights. Contract law is constantly changing and extremely complex. However, contract drafting principles have not changed much and are relatively straightforward. Contracts that adhere to these principles will probably be favorably interpreted in court.

Do the Basics

Professional-looking contracts simply seem valid. So, a judge is inclined to enforce it as written, even before s/he reads it. For example:

A contract drafter should not exclusively rely on Grammarly and other such programs to make these changes. Do the work yourself.

Draft Clearly

Many people believe that vague terms are better than specific terms. Once the other party signs on the dotted line, a Norcross contracts lawyer argues for a favorable interpretation in court. That strategy often works, but it’s risky.

Instead, use straightforward, precise language that is concise and unambiguous. There is no need for superfluous language unless there is a business or other reason for it.

During the drafting process, ask yourself, “If I were no longer at this company tomorrow, could someone pick up this contract and understand what is trying to be accomplished here?” If the answer is no, it is time for a rewrite.

Do Not Lose Focus

Do not miss the forest for the trees. For example, don’t be so focused on somewhat irrelevant definitions that you decrease your attention on liability shifting, cost incurring provisions, and other provisions your company cares about. Pay special attention to areas like:

If it helps to regain focus when you feel a bit lost, think about how you would feel if a particular contract affected you personally. Use that empathy to put yourself in your company’s shoes. This mindset may make the path you should take very evident.

Do Not Exclude Affected Stakeholders

Keep stakeholders and decision-makers at your company in the loop if you are drafting language or negotiating agreements that may affect them. If this process involves an internal client or a department’s budget, you want to collaborate with those people and departments. Additionally, follow your company’s internal policies on who needs to be involved in certain decisions as they pertain to your agreement drafting and negotiation.

Reach Out to a Diligent Gwinnett County Attorney

Well-written contracts usually hold up in court. For a confidential consultation with an experienced contract lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.