Contracts come in many forms, from small-time freelancers to giant corporations managing several dozens of employees. As such, contracts can sometimes be a page or two long or extend to the length of a small book. Avoiding contractual disputes should be a top priority regardless of a contract’s length or stipulations. Unfortunately, contract disputes can happen all the time, and minor errors like vague wording can cause issues. This blog will explore five professional tips for avoiding contract disputes.
- Understand and Lay Out Specific Terminology
Every industry is different and, as such, can come with its own role-specific jargon or terminology. While online contract templates or old contracts left behind from a past venture are great places to start, chances are you’ll need to update the language and terminology. If deemed necessary, it helps to define certain terms at the start of a contract so that both parties are on the same page. Also, take notice that rules, regulations, terminology, etc., can evolve and change throughout different industries.
- Include Clauses On How to Handle Disputes
Disputes can occur even when you have what you believe to be a clear-cut or ironclad contract. Fortunately, you can include clauses stipulating how both parties can handle disputes, including what method to use, such as mediation or litigation. A contract without dispute clauses can cost both parties significant time and money. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for contractual disputes to drag on for years.
- Take Excellent Care of Your Contracts
In today’s digitized world, the idea of losing a contract may seem like an invisible problem for many. However, many places still prefer hard copies, and besides properly filing these physical copies, be sure to make a copy and digitize it if possible. Even fully digitized contracts can sometimes be a loss. Be sure to keep all of your contracts well-organized and ensure that all the necessary parties can safely and securely access them.
- Properly Document Your Agreement
Some clients see a handshake as a formal agreement, and while there’s nothing wrong with using a handshake as a symbolic agreement, trying to use it as a formal agreement can very well get you laughed out of the courtroom. Some people also feel like they don’t need a formal agreement in situations where, for example, they’re working with a trusted friend. However, personal friendships can quickly turn sour when business arrangements are mixed in.
- Make Sure Your Contract Is Properly Drafted
You want a contract that’s easily understandable by both parties. Although this tip calls back to ensure you use the proper language and terminology, a properly drafted contract also includes other factors. For example, a contract with numerous spelling or grammar mistakes can quickly be scrutinized or rendered unusable. Furthermore, a court system can’t consider factors like your intentions. The wording should be as precise and easy to understand as possible. However, even the best-drafted contract may require help from a contract dispute lawyer—something our friends at Eric Lindh Foster Law, LLC know about.