I have been thinking a lot about formal agreements over the past few months as I have been dealing with a lot of contracts. The question that I have been fighting on each agreement is how far to go to make it “right?”
The agreements have all been with people I appreciate and respect. And people I have relationships with and hope to have relationships with for a very long time. The challenge is that what's good for a contract (and lawyers) isn't always good for business.
One of your attorney's primary jobs is to protect you, both now and into the future. So attorneys can go overboard on a contract just to protect you when what you really want is for the relationship to continue and the deal to go through. I'm fortunate that my attorney understands this and is willing to pull back when I ask her to.
Some of my best agreements have been through a simple handshake. That doesn't mean we don't want to put into writing many of our agreements. It just means that we need to be careful about how the legal protection might affect the relationship. Some agreements really should just be a handshake. By putting into writing what doesn't really need to be in writing, we can confuse the issues and lose sight of the real purpose of the agreement – to do business together.
Certain attorneys tend towards over protection. I call these attorneys deal breakers. Others, like Sandra, our deal makers. She still protects me while understanding that relationships are more important than legal protection.
Just a thought for today as you go about your business.