Negotiating a contract can be a tedious and frustrating process. This is because you often have to consider multiple terms, applicable laws, and possible legal consequences at once. Fortunately, all you need for successful contract negotiations is the expert help of the attorneys at The Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi and the following useful pointers:
Prepare a Draft
As with any important document, always begin by creating a draft of the main points the contract should cover. While each contract will differ from the next depending on nature, a basic agreement usually includes the following terms:
- Basic terms like cost, performance period, services, products, etc.
- Protection clauses for trade secrets and confidential information.
- Insurance details and warranties.
- Restrictive clauses like non-compete agreements.
- Regulatory terms, such as New Jersey consumer fraud regulations.
- Amendment clauses
- Conflict resolution parameters, i.e. whether litigation, mediation, or arbitration will be used.
- Liability clauses.
- Consequences of breaching the terms.
- Applicable laws.
Divide and Conquer
Once you have an outline of everything the contract should include, divide the clauses into separate sections that you and the other party can negotiate separately. This approach will protect the agreement by eliminating the all-or-nothing ultimatum of one large contract. Additionally, try to avoid going to too much detail at this time because complex contracts are more difficult to negotiate.
Determine Your Objectives
Next, determine what you wish to achieve through a contract with the other party. It is important to avoid only thinking of your needs and to consider how both parties might benefit from the terms. Keep in mind your top priorities so that you do not lose sight of them during the negotiations. Additionally, gauge how the rewards and risks will measure up after you get what you want.
After you figure out your needs, have a meeting with the other party to find out their initial goals and interests. Understanding the other party’s goals will help you better align both your interests and create a win-win situation with the contract.
Research and Be Objective
Before the negotiations begin, research and gather enough information to support your arguments. You will need to put your game face on and be objective during the meetings – speak from facts, not emotions. Avoid making statements that cannot be substantiated and never guess a statistic if you cannot authenticate it.
During the negotiations, try to see the other party’s point of view. Find arguments you agree with, appreciate them, and then build your case from there.
Finally, take your time through the entire negotiations, including both before and after. Prepare all the documents you will need ahead of the meetings and have your attorney review the drafted contract. Doing this will help you avoid in-the-moment decisions. Don’t rush through the negotiations and always consult your attorney or ask them to take over if you do not understand a section of the contract.
Visit the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi
Contracts define the parameters and rules of the relationship between businesses and the people they deal with, including their clients, vendors, contractors, lenders, and customers. The terms of a contract can either protect you from or subject you to financial losses and legal consequences, which is why you should always work with an attorney when reviewing or negotiating them. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi are widely experienced in contract negotiations. Contact us today at (973) 453-4060 to discuss your needs and how we can help you.