incomprehensible-contractAll practicing lawyers are litigators. Even though many lawyers never see the inside of a courtroom, every lawyer must keep the courtroom in mind.

This means considering the judge and jury in contracts and other transactional documents, and it usually means drafting those documents to avoid the courtroom.

To this end, Florida lawyer, James Martin, put together fifty tips to keep contracts out of court. Here are just a few:

  1. Engage your client in “what if” scenarios.
  2. Be sure that any letter of intent clearly states that it is not a contract, but that it is merely an outline of possible terms for discussion purposes.
  3. Complete each paragraph by writing the contract terms that apply to that paragraph.
  4. Repeat yourself only when repetition is necessary to improve clarity.
  5. Save the drafts as multiple files on your computer. (I do this with every document, rather than tracking changes. I just title the draft with the date I worked on it, adding letters and the name of the drafter or editor as necessary.)

There are a ton of other great tips, including words to avoid, clauses to consider, and how to involve your client.

FIFTY TIPS FOR WRITING THE CONTRACT THAT STAYS OUT OF COURT | James W. Martin, P.A. (via FutureLawyer)

(photo: El Fotopakismo)