Lawyers who are part of the solution....

Free Advice

Arnold and Associates takes a common-sense approach to solving problems. Our top 10 list of useful advice is:

1. It costs money to stand up for principle. Although you may eventually recover your lawyer’s fees and court costs, you will not be reimbursed for lost time and productivity in pursuing the lawsuit. Look before you leap.

2. If the matter is important or involves much money, document the agreement in writing. Oral contracts are often valid, but the exact terms of a verbal agreement may be disputed and difficult to prove with precision.

3. Be realistic. Consider the circumstances. Try to understand the other party’s viewpoint. Look for win-win strategies to reduce or resolve conflicts. Business solutions are usually more practical than legal ones.

4. Poorly worded, incomplete, or inadequate documents are as bad as (and sometimes worse than) no documents. Do not defer resolving difficult issues or critical details until after you have signed a contract.

5. Always consider what can go wrong. Include contingencies for events that could foreseeably happen, not just what you hope will happen.

6. Be street-wise. Know when to call a lawyer to prevent problems; it is generally cheaper in the long run (an ounce of prevention …)

7. Beware of people who over-negotiate or under-negotiate. The latter can be a sign of intent not to perform; the former portends a difficult relationship.

8. Some contract terms (such as indemnity agreements or warranty disclaimers) are unenforceable unless they are in writing and/or clear and conspicuous.

9. It is a strategic advantage to write the contract, but documents are usually construed strictly against the drafter. If there is an ambiguity, the non-drafting party’s interpretation may be given more weight.

10. Get to the point quickly and stick to it. Do not create piles of paperwork or write excessively long or rambling documents.