You may be surprised to find out that words you use every day may have different meanings and implications in contract. Those words if not properly used may get you or your business into financial and or legal troubles.
Across the world, words like “May and shall” “Part payment and Deposit” “annually and yearly” “Dismissal and Termination “and many other words have led to expensive litigation and loss of resources for businesses and individuals. Now you have an idea why lawyers spend some time in Law School learning what these words mean in relation to interpretation of contracts.
You may also need to know that similar transactions may not necessarily require similar contracts or similar terms. That is why you need to BRIEF a lawyer. The brief you give to a lawyer will enable him understand the terms and the proper wordings to use in the contract. Many people make this huge mistake especially those who use template contracts from the internet or those who recycle previous documents made by a lawyer.
E.g Three portions of Land may be for sale on the same street and will require a deed of Assignment.
Plot A is owned by a family while plot B belongs to a deceased and Plot C is owned by someone who bought from another person.
The three transactions are alike and require a deed of assignment however the ownership of those lands will significantly alter the wordings of the contract to suit the circumstance. It will also change the way the parties are described especially in Plot B because if they are not described in the proper legal capacity eg as Administrators, the buyer may get into legal trouble.
In the case of Plot A, the Law provides for who can execute a contract in that situation.
Plot c will require a more detailed recital.
Only a lawyer will know all these details.
So if you use the same template for all of them, someone someday will get into trouble.
In terms of business contracts, it is suicidal to download templates from the internet for the purpose of your business contracts. Company Laws defer from country to country and these laws regulate things like who can invest in a company and how they can, how equity can be purchased, how intellectual properties are protected etc When you brief a lawyer or get a lawyer to review the contract, it will spare you legal troubles even when they come calling, you will be on the safe side of the law.
There are different types of contracts we get involved in the ordinary course of our life and business.
We will look at three:
Employment contracts: Most times when people secure a new job and receive their letter of employment, they are usually too excited to read in between lines. Most people usually glance at the welfare package to confirm that the salary agreed is included and once that is confirmed, they put their pen to paper only to realize their mistake years later when they receive a notice of dismissal or termination.
Immediately you receive your letter of employment, there is a need to contact a lawyer to review it and advice you on the implications of the clauses in the letter vis a vis the employment law(s) applicable to your case because the nature of the employment most times determine the employment laws and employment contracts applicable.
Tenancy Contracts: A simple clause in a tenancy agreement may make you come back home and see your properties outside. A word in the contract may deprive you of the right to statutory notices of eviction and can even provide for hidden charges. If you are not the party that hired the Lawyer who prepared the agreement, kindly look for a lawyer who will review your contract before you sign.
Business Contracts: Whether you run a startup, medium company or a big company, contracts are an integral part of every business relationships. The contracts can be in form of Joint Venture, supply contract, technology supply contracts, maintenance Contract, contracts with investors etc
Badly worded contracts can cause you loss of money, loss of business, loss of reputation and can even lead to hostile takeover of one’s business. In business contracts, it is usually advisable to hire your own lawyer to join the process and in a situation where you are unable to hire a lawyer because the other party hired one to represent both parties, it is important you take it to a lawyer to review to make sure that the wordings of the contracts are in consonance with your intention.
How to find a lawyer to review your contract:
The world has changed a great deal and many people are now going online to look for everything. A simple search on the internet will lead you to Lawyers and Law Firms that can help. Courtroommail.com has built an online resource that lists lawyers as Contract Reviewers. You can search for a Contract Reviewer on courtroommail.com to find a lawyer to review your contract for you.