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We review, draft, negotiate, and execute business contracts for UC Berkeley on behalf of The Regents of the University of California (UC Regents).
Business contracts are a staple in the business world. They are used for a variety of purposes including shareholder agreements, nondisclosure, loan agreements, detailing the type of services that will be rendered, and more. They serve to protect the interest of all parties involved by detailing the terms and conditions of the agreement. If someone breaks the contract, the other party has legal recourse to either enforce the terms or be compensated for any losses.
Although contracts are commonly written on paper, the internet has played a large role in the rise of electronic contracts. Parties to the contract can agree to its terms by typing in their name. Even agreements reached via email exchanges have been held up in court as legally binding.
All types of companies can benefit from the use of business contracts. This includes music companies, retails stores, and even home based entrepreneurs. If you are providing or receiving services, a contract can make life easier for you, your customers, and your business partners.
For example, a web designer can make use of electronic contracts to detail the services they will perform for the client as well as the agreed upon price. This will protect them should any question about the project arises. They will also have legal recourse should the client refuse to pay them for their services.
At one point, people were able to agree on the terms and conditions of a business arrangement with only a handshake. Unfortunately, while verbal agreements are enforceable in court, they are difficult to prove. If you do not have any evidence that you and the other party had an agreement, the judge may have to decide against you in the case.
With written business contracts, on the other hand, the terms and conditions of the agreement are spelled out on paper. If a dispute arises, both parties can refer to the contract to resolve the issue and written contracts are generally strong enough to stand up in court.
Detail Obligations and Responsibilities
Business contracts can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings when it comes to the responsibilities and obligations of all the parties to the business transaction. Additionally, it can limit liability should a breach of the contract occur.
With a non-competition agreement, a business can protect its interests by preventing employees from using the information they learned from their position in the company to build a competing company in the same area. For example, a salon owner can use a non-competition agreement to stop a hairdresser from building a competing salon within several miles of their business.
Avoid Disclosure of Business Secrets
If the company deals with highly sensitive information or has business processes they do not want to become public, then they can use a nondisclosure agreement to legally bind employees and business partners from sharing this information with others.
Although business contracts can be extremely beneficial to companies of all shapes and sizes, they are not without their disadvantages.
Some people don’t like contracts because they feel it is a sign of a lack of trust in the relationship. This can lead to difficulty in establishing an agreement with the other party. As a business owner, you must decide whether the relationship is worth going without the protection a contract provides.
Time and Money
Crafting a contract that protects your business interests and is fair to both parties takes time and usually the services of an attorney. Even if you purchase prewritten templates, it is best to have the template reviewed by an attorney to ensure the wording is correct and does not leave doors open for misinterpretation or liability. Depending on what the attorney charges, this can get expensive.
Business contracts can actually increase the likelihood of a lawsuit as the act of signing one can put a person on the defensive. They may contact an attorney to review their rights which may lead to legally challenging the contract if they feel it negatively impacts them.
The cost of business contracts vary. If you have an attorney draw up the contract then you will pay the retainer fees they charge for that service. The national average, according to research by Lawyers.com, is $284 per hour. However, the attorney may charge a flat fee for the service which could be less.
It is also possible to get templates of common business contracts like non-disclosure agreements. Many are offered for free online. Others can be purchased for $8 to $1,000 depending on if the template is customized for you by an attorney.
Although the cost of business contracts may seem expensive, they can save a lot of time and money by helping the business avoid costly lawsuits as well as limit their liability. They can also help settle a lawsuit should one be brought against them.
Business contracts are the primary way a company can guard their interests, provide clarity in business dealings, and obtain legal recourse should something happen. Although they take time and money to create, their ability to protect a company in today’s litigious society make them invaluable.
There are many types of contracts that are used in the business world, today. The most common is that of the written business contract. Business contracts can help to ensure that the needs of both parties are being met and can also clearly define the agreements that both parties are agreeing to. These contracts can be used for a variety of reasons and are great way to help facilitate the needs of one's business. There are a few things to consider when thinking about drawing up a business contract, and it is always wise to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
Business contracts can be drawn up in many ways and the key ingredient to these forms is that both parties sign and agree to the terms in the contract. In the event that one party does not hold up their end of the bargain, a legal business contract can help to protect the assets of the company. One should spend some time understanding the particular laws in their state and how these contracts should be drawn up. Spend a little time doing some research, consult with an attorney or simply click on the links to the left to learn how Business.com can help you.
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