Litigation Doesn't Make Friends, Contracts Do
As quoted in Small Business Trendsetters, "litigation doesn't make friends, contracts do". Time and time again, clients come to T.Burd Law Group with a contract concern over a contract that was never reviewed or prepared by their own attorney. Sometimes they have an existing contract and other times there is no written contract at all. When I ask them why they did not consult an attorney previously, they often respond with answers such as: "Well, I trusted him"; "We were long-time friends"; "He's my husband's best friend"; "We've done business before." These reasons are counter-intuitive to their end goal.
Simply put, if you want to preserve a business relationship of any kind, including those with friends and family members, entering into a formal written contract is your best solution. As stated in the referenced article, "When creating a contract, the parties have an opportunity to clearly articulate their intentions, their goals, their terms and the consequences of any breach. The best of friends and the closest kinships can easily disagree on material terms."
The Trendsetter article aptly describes two "camps" of individuals: those that endeavor to to put even the most minutiae of details in writing and those with a complete fear of written contracts. One of T.Burd Law Group's goals is to remove our clients' contractual fears and to confront potential conflicts head-on.
Attorneys at T.Burd Law Group do this by encouraging clients without existing, attorney-reviewed written contracts to put serious thought into their business arrangements. In some cases, such as for employers, this means a simple review of their current business contracts or intern agreements. For others, this means sitting down with his/her business partner, friend or family member with whom they are doing business, and asking the tough questions. Such as, "How will we define a 'breach of contract'?"; and "What are the repercussions if either of us cannot perform our promise?" It is a fallacy to believe that everything will go exactly as planned. This also does not mean that one person doesn't trust the other. It just means that everyone should be on the same page prior to formalizing an agreement or continuing a business relationship.
Attorneys at T.Burd Law Group also work hard to keep the contracts we prepare simple, with only the necessary provisions. Contracts do not have to be tomes filled with irrelevant and inapplicable clauses. They should, however, clearly define the responsibilities of each party, what constitutes a breach, and the remedies for a breach. Contracts are not just for big businesses. They are for anyone entering into a business-like agreement for the exchanges of money and/or services. "Planning ahead and protecting your interests and relationships, makes sense."