8 months ago

All in the Fine Print: How to Effectively Negotiate a Contract

Everyone, at some point in their lives, will have to enter into a contract. In fact, we make contracts nearly every day, even if we don’t realize it. When you promised your friend you would pick them up from the airport, and they promised you they would buy you pizza in return, you two had a contract. When you agreed to give up your cat because your husband was a dog person, but only if he agreed to do the laundry every week, you negotiated a contract. Any time we make promises to others or talk out deals and agreements with other people to get what we want, we are making contracts.Of course, the most important contracts in our lives are those that are legally enforceable. Agreements like employment contracts, sales contracts, and rental contracts can greatly change our quality of life for long periods, depending on their terms. When it comes to negotiating these types of contracts with other parties, it’s crucial to hire an attorney to help you get the best possible

Of course, the most important contracts in our lives are those that are legally enforceable. Agreements like employment contracts, sales contracts, and rental contracts can greatly change our quality of life for long periods, depending on their terms. When it comes to negotiating these types of contracts with other parties, it’s crucial to hire an attorney to help you get the best possible deal and to enter into negotiations with a concrete strategy in mind.

At the outset of contract negotiation, it’s helpful to be the party that drafts the first version of the document. This way, you are setting the benchmark for negotiation and putting everything you want on the table. Know exactly what you want and set a clear goal, because if you don’t know want, how will you get it? You should ask for everything right at the beginning, even the little, less meaningful terms. With this strategy, you’ll either get everything, or you will have offered up enough terms that you can give some up without it being a problem. The most important thing you bring to the negotiation is your attitude—if you act like the deal will work, then there’s a greater chance you’ll be able to make it work in your favor.

The other point to consider before negotiations start is what leverage you will have against your opponent. The party with the most information has the most leverage. Know what the other party wants, and what they would realistically give up to get it. You can insist on more if you know more about the other party’s position and intentions. Not only do you need to know what leverage you have, but what leverage the other party might try to use against you so that you can plan a counter attack. Researching the other party and figuring out where they stand is where an attorney comes in handy. Experienced attorneys have likely negotiated a contract like yours before, and they will know what cues to look for and what information is key.

It also helps to have an attorney to keep the negotiations civil and professional. It’s important to keep a good relationship with the other party because you might be working with them again or need something from them in the future. With a lawyer present, it’s less likely that things will get hostile. Or, if things do turn sour, your lawyer can take some of the heat off of you.

To keep the negotiations friendly and with everyone’s best interests in mind, you should not rush negotiating. Although you no doubt want to get the contract signed and over with, it’s critical to take your time to avoid misunderstandings. If it seems like it’s going to be a lengthy negotiation, try to break the discussion into parts. By doing this, it seems like there are little victories along the way for both parties, rather than a hostile battle culminating in one winner-takes-all agreement. Agreeing on some small points as you go helps to set an overall positive tone.

One useful technique is leveling, i.e. putting yourself at the same level as the other side and making them look at you like a peer. Try not to make outright demands of the other party. Rather, ask questions related to what you want to open up discussion. If your opponent makes strict demands of you or is acting unreasonable, don’t be afraid to walk away. This strategy will force the other party to show how much they really need you; if it’s a lot, then they’ll convince you to come back to the deal.

Be aware of when it seems like the contract negotiation is coming to an end. If you have gotten much of what you wanted already, it might be a good idea just to let negotiations stop there. Although going for extra concessions is tempting, pushing the other side too far could cause the whole deal to fall apart. Before signing the contract, it’s vital that you trust how it has all ended up, and trust that the other side will come through. Litigation is expensive, and it’s much easier if both sides abide by the terms of the agreement. Your lawyer will be a tremendous help in ensuring that the agreement holds up. A capable attorney will try to build terms of compliance into the contract that provide immediate remedies for breach; so that a party may breach some parts of the contract without killing the whole agreement. Your attorney should also see to it that there are exit clauses for penalties.

Though we make contracts every day, legal contract negotiation is a skill. Lawyers know the specific elements necessary for a contract to hold up in court. Contract negotiation isn’t an exact science, and these strategies are only some of the possible techniques to employ. What matters most is that you go into a contract negotiation with your priorities in order, with as much information as possible, and with a confident and experienced attorney by your side.

About the author:  A Guest Contributor Mr. Reid is general practice attorney in Birmingham Alabama. He has worked for Republican leadership in the United State House of Representatives in Washington, DC, and was a health policy advisor to the Governor of Alabama. If you need a legal consult, you can contact him by email at chris.reid@reidlawalabama.com or by phone at 205-913-7406. A description of his practice areas is available at www.reidlawalabama.com

Editor’s Note: The opinions of our Guest Contributors and sponsors do not necessarily reflect the views of Yellowhammer.

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13 hours ago

Alabama wins private property rights case against Obama-era regulations

In a victory for private property rights this week, the federal government agreed to reconsider rules adopted during the Obama-era that unreasonably restrict the freedom of Americans to use their land.

“We are encouraged that the Trump administration has agreed to revisit these rules, which threaten property owners’ rights to use any land that the federal government could dream that an endangered species might ever inhabit,” Alabama Attorney General Marshall said in a statement.

Why this matters: Under these rules, unelected federal bureaucrats could designate a piece of private property as “critical habitat” for an endangered species even if the land doesn’t contain that particular species and, moreover, doesn’t even contain some of the features needed to support that species. Use of the land would then be severely limited. 


The details:

— The state filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in November of 2016 challenging the rules, calling them “an unlawful federal overreach.”

— Nearly 20 other states joined the lawsuit, along with four large trade associations.

— The settlement forces federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and retains our freedom to file another lawsuit if their new rules are as excessive as the old ones.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

13 hours ago

Jeff Sessions is right to sue California for ignoring federal immigration laws

America may be a country of immigrants, but it’s also a country of laws. No one is exempt from those laws regardless of what some local officials in sanctuary cities may think.

As you may have seen on the news recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a lawsuit against the State of California for failure to completely cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.  I stand with AG Sessions’ decision.

From the mayors and local politicians disregarding federal immigration law to the illegal immigrants they are prioritizing over American citizens, it’s about time we hold these lawless individuals accountable.


The “leaders” in these cities are violating their oath of office and the Constitution.  They should be immediately removed from their positions and the illegal immigrants they are protecting should be deported. Period.

I agree with President Trump that we need to strengthen our borders.  We should build the wall and we should continue to support law enforcement’s crackdown on violent foreign gangs like MS-13.

These efforts mean nothing though if illegal immigrants and criminals can continue to seek refuge in some of our country’s largest cities.

It boils down to fairness, safety and what it means to be a sovereign nation.

A country without borders is hardly a country at all. I’m fed up with seeing the tax dollars from hard-working families across East Alabama go to cities who snub their nose at the very ideals that make America great.  Congress should withhold funding from sanctuary cities that refuse to uphold federal law.

President Trump has proven his tough stance on illegal immigration is much more than just campaign rhetoric. He has already done so much to curtail our illegal immigration crisis but he can’t do it alone.

Elected officials – from the state and local level to Members of Congress – must do their part.

And if they refuse, then they aren’t fit for public service.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is a Republican from Saks.

(Image:U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Flickr)

14 hours ago

WATCH: Cam Newton’s leadership message resonates with Boy Scouts

When Cam Newton speaks, people listen.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback had the full attention of the audience at the 11th annual American Values Luncheon.

Boy Scouts were among attendees that filled the meeting room at the North Exhibition Hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.


Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn joined Newton during a question and answer session. Famous for leading the Auburn Tigers to the 2010 National Championship under Malzahn’s leadership, Newton’s talk followed in the tradition of several other football greats, including Nick Saban, Shaquille O’Neal and Bo Jackson.

Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Jesse Lewis Sr. and Jimmy Rane were honored at the luncheon for their contributions to the community.

Newton shared his life experiences and lessons learned.

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

15 hours ago

Celtic Pride! Joel Blankenship shares his Irish roots with The Ford Faction

Joel Blankenship makes his weekly return to The Ford Faction to talk the St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Birmingham and what the holiday means to him.  Joel mentions the law that can be passed to put Police K9’s in schools to help sniff out guns or drugs.  He provides feedback on what this could mean for schools and how it will benefit the need for police K9’s.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

16 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama Rep. Roby thanks Air Force secretary for decision to bring F-35s to Montgomery

U.S. Representative Martha Roby participated in a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing this week where she expressed her appreciation to Secretary Heather Wilson for the Air Force’s decision to base F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.

Roby also discussed other military-related programs in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, including helicopter training at Fort Rucker near Enterprise and the professional education programs at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery.

(Image: Representative Martha Roby/YouTube)