I recently waited a month and a half for comments from opposing counsel to a draft contract. It was finally returned to me in a different form, restating everything that was in the original draft and proposing certain changes to the deal. I call this creating an unnecessary “battle of the forms.” It’s annoying because it increases my client’s transaction costs and slows down the deal, since in addition to reviewing and understanding the proposed changes to the business terms, it takes extra time to make sure that:
A. The new form fully captures the essence of the business deal, and
B. The agreed upon business terms remain intact in the new form.
It’s understandable that attorneys feel comfortable with forms they’ve used in the past, and while it may seem more efficient to them, that may not be true. Waiting 6 weeks for opposing counsel to create a new form results in our respective clients losing business opportunities and possibly market advantages during that time. That’s why when I negotiate contracts, there needs to be a significant business reason to toss the original form and start again.
Whenever possible, I try to work with forms provided by opposing counsel, incorporating straight-forward and simple language that addresses the business concerns of my clients. I also seek to anticipate and inform clients of any additional issues that may arise in the future, and deal with them based on the instructions received from my clients during our consultations.
At its best, the work of the corporate attorney is to ensure all business contracts accurately reflect the terms of the business deal as clearly and simply as possible. Often the words on the page don’t capture the proportionate time spent thinking about, discussing and reflecting on the business deal. Thus, the work product itself may not always provide the best evidence of the value proposition paid for the attorney’s services.
As a service provider whose wares are primarily the ability to reduce complex legal and business concepts into clear and concise sentences, I’m always interested in feedback about how to ensure I provide value to all of my clients. What attributes/qualities are most important to you when you work with your corporate attorney?
- Cost consciousness
- Trusted advisor of business and strategic guidance
- Ability to communicate in “plain English”
- Ability to write clearly and concisely
- A connector to new business opportunities and/or other professional service providers
Please select the attributes most important to you from the numbered list above or any other considerations you may have by commenting in the box below or sending an email to reach me directly.
Aimee B. Davis Law P.C. is committed to staying on top of legal issues and advising clients on the legal and business matters that are important to them. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (917) 617-2243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.