Tips for Successful Contract Risk Management

Most business transactions, including the execution of a contract with another firm, subject a company to risk. With contracts in particular, there is always the risk that one side to the agreement will not perform as stipulated, causing a great deal of harm or loss to the other side. Although there is no way to completely eliminate the risk associated with contracting, there are certainly a number of steps that companies can take to mitigate the likelihood, as well as the impact, of a breach or other misfortune. Here are the top tips for successful contract risk management:

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Contract Drafting: Liquidated Damages Clauses

All contracts are susceptible to breach and could eventually result in a costly, time-consuming contract dispute. In the event of a contract breach, the parties to the contract will most likely require the services of legal counsel to hammer out an acceptable resolution. Between the attorneys’ fees, court fees, and other associated legal costs, these kinds of disputes can end up costing a fortune. For this reason, the parties to a contract often wish to employ other methods of dispute resolution, such as an obligation to submit to arbitration or the inclusion of specific damages clauses. The liquidated damages clause is one of the most commonly used contract provisions, as it eliminates the need to figure out the nature and extent of the breach and the amount owed to make the aggrieved party whole. Here is a rundown on the liquidated damages clause:

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Your Contract Terms Were Violated: What Now?

Contract violations are probably a lot more common than one would expect. In many situations, the breach is due to carelessness or a simple lack of awareness. Most contracts are lengthy documents and contain so much obtuse language that people do not always know or understand the actual terms. And, some people do not even read them, like all those licensing agreements that pop up stating terms of service for using a product. The vast majority of people probably hit agree within seconds of seeing that screen accepting the terms offered, without actually reading what those terms are. Thus, many breaches are not intentional or malicious, but rather inadvertent lapses. Of course, there are plenty of instances in which business contracts are breached on purpose, often for strategic reasons.

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How to Future-Proof Your Contracts

We recently discussed the importance of having a plan to track contract changes. However, it is also extremely important to consider the types of changes that may be needed in the future and to build the appropriate language into the contract from the outset. This obviously requires a bit of foresight, but some situations may not be readily apparent and thus are not exactly easy to plan for ahead of time. For this reason, contracts must be drafted in a way that allows for some flexibility, when it is needed. Here are some of the possible changes that could impact a company's contracting and how to future-proof your contracts:

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How To Simplify Contracts

Contracts may formalize important agreements and impose significant responsibilities, but that does not mean that they have to be lengthy documents written in a complicated language. In fact, contract drafting should take the opposite approach and focus on keeping things as simple as possible. Contract-related disputes that often arise end up in court because of differing interpretations and understandings. Although language, in general, s subject to interpretation (including contract terms), there are ways to avoid unnecessary ambiguities. Here are a few ways to keep contracts simple:

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Employment Contracts Must Attract Talent, Not Eviscerate Innovation

The days of individuals committing the bulk of their working years to just one company are long behind us. Employees and laborers currently in their 40s, and the younger generations following them, are far more likely to jump from one employer to the next over the course of their lifetime. On average, these employees will spend two to four years working at each place, and many of these folks end up working for ten or more different companies or organizations.

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Rethinking Traditional Contracts

There are many ways to define and describe contracts. In addition to the usual words associated with contracts, like verbose, confusing, and binding, the thought of them also conjures up all sorts of imagery. For many people, the idea of contracts likely evokes images of stacks of paperwork, arguing lawyers, wood-paneled courtrooms, and black-robed judges, among numerous other possibilities.

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Understanding the World of Ambiguous Contract Clauses

Contracts are fun and easy to understand, said no one ever. There is simply no way around the fact that contracts are complicated. Every aspect of the contracting process, whether negotiating, drafting, executing, managing, or enforcing, presents a unique set of issues and challenges. Fortunately, companies engaged in regular contract management can drastically simplify the complexity of the process by choosing the right cloud-based solution.

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