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If You Can’t Control The Contract Language – Control The Money

I often have clients come into my office looking for help with a contract (after they have already signed it).  Many times, the disputed dollar amounts range from $15, 000.00 – $40,000.00.

Here’s the problem:  the agreements may seem “standard” to the common eye, but the provisions governing Jurisdiction, Arbitration, and Venue can lead to difficulties in efficiently pursuing monies that are rightfully owed.

For instance, if you agree to sign a contract with a company that requires all disputes to be litigated and/or arbitrated in another state, you will have to bear the expense associated with the travel and communication issues related to fighting in that state.  If you agree to a provision that requires mediation as a prerequisite to arbitration, but fails to specify how the mediators and arbitrators are to be selected, you may have to argue about it before you can actually get in front of a decision maker.

Moral of the Story – the concept of a contract is to memorialize the detailed agreement of the parties so that any dispute can be resolved in the most efficient manner available.  If you choose to sign a contract without proper legal advice, prepare to finance the inefficient litigation of any resulting dispute.

Practical Advice –   If you choose to sign a contract without legal advice then please make sure that you control the money.  I see people being taken advantage of everyday because they fail to control the contract language and they allow the other party to control the money.