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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Remember This When Writing A Contract

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I've just completed my contract with my logo designer, and I though there would be a few tid-bits you'd be interested in.  Keep in mind, you will need to know how to work out a contract with your vendors or designers, and you will need to know how to keep it fair.

I am lucky that my designer and I are friends. This aids in communication, but all of the following morsels should be done even if you and your contract-ee are recent acquaintances.

1) You must have conversations
                   Proper communication is key when you are trying to figure out what you both hope to get out of the contract and agreements. You need to be prepared to talk about every little detail even before pen hits paper.

2) Have a Checklist!
                   This will prevent you from forgetting any key component to your agreement. Make sure you write down which rights each of you have over the agreement in question, and what situations would allow an amended contract to be drafted.

3) Write a Rough Draft, and check it with your partner
                    You know I harp on the idea of rough drafts. They are incredibly important. And since you are in a working relationship, you must be prepared to write out all the details and double check everything with both your attorney and your co-agreement signee before signatures get added. This way any little rought spots can be buffed out, and you will be able to sign the page knowing that it is the best for both parties.

4) Important Sections

      1. Intro-outline what this agreement is about and the full names of both parties
      2. Rights- write out which rights belong to which party and what might cause infringements on these rights
      3. Mitigating Circumstances- Write out what situations would cause this contract to be null and void, and what action must be taken if such an event occurs
      4. Summary- "By signing this contract(agreement) both parties agree that the following is applicable in all cases.." blah blah blah. Make sure there are no loopholes.

5) Remember 
                      Your signer is not your enemy. It is simply good business practice to spell it all out in case something happens in the future.

6) Reread the contract before signing
                       Both parties need to reread the contract (before any signatures hit the page!) after it's been drafted. In my case, I had to fix the legal name of my designer so it would be concurrent with her registry at the Chamber of Commerce.  Both you and your attorney (you do have an attorney, right?) will need to read the agreement before any signatures are added. Make sure it happens!

7) Keep a couple copies:
                   You will need: at least one digital copy of your signed contract. and one PRINTED copy to keep in your lockbox/file/safety deposit box, what-have-you.  You will need both, signed and dated, in case of any issues, and so that you have a safe copy in case of legal proceedings.

Please remember these things when drafting or reading contracts. You can never tell when this will come in handy.                

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