You can probably find thousands of lawyers in Los Angeles who can draft a contract or other legal document for you. What sets us apart is that we have not simply drafted legal documents. Instead, we have tried cases over contracts, leases, etc. drafted by others. As a result, we have learned some valuable lessons that can benefit you:
- Use Plain English
Your contracts, leases, deeds and other documents should be written in plain English. Ambiguity is your enemy. Each document must be written so clearly that everyone — parties, brokers, lawyers, judges and juries — will read it and understand it in the same way. That is the best way to avoid disagreements and litigation. It is also the best way to ensure that, if there is any litigation, it will end sooner rather than later, and on terms favorable to you.
- Spell Out The Background Facts
Anyone who reads a contract should be able to know immediately what the parties intended to accomplish. If the contract states the background facts, it will be easier to know what the parties were thinking. Often, while negotiating the recitals of background facts, we will learn that the parties view the same facts differently. It is far better to learn that during the negotiations, rather than after the contract has been signed.
- Spell Out The Parties’ Objectives And The Circumstances
Contracts that spell out the parties’ objectives can also help you avoid or win a lawsuit. That is because various statutes tell courts to look at those objectives when interpreting a contract. When we draft a contract, we spell out, in the contract itself, the parties’ objectives and intentions, and the circumstances giving rise to their contract. That way, if a dispute arises, the contract itself will tell the judge and jury what they need to know to carry out the parties’ intentions.
- Avoid Accidental Contracts
Sometimes a court will rule that a deal memo, memorandum of understanding, exchange of letters or e-mail is actually a contract. We help our clients avoid problems like that by keeping the line between negotiations and agreement very clear. Until all of the terms are agreed, our letters and drafts explicitly state that no one is bound unless and until everyone has signed a formal written contract. We will make sure the important terms are unambiguously nailed down before negotiations crystallize into a contract.
- Have Someone Else Read The Contract
When people proofread their own writing they see what they think they wrote. Have someone else, who knows nothing about the deal, read the contract and tell you what they think it means. If that person understands it as you do, you have a good contract.
- Initial And Number Each Page Of The Final Version
Believe it or not, lawsuits have arisen as to which pages were included in the final version of a given document. We use a very simple method to keep our clients out of this kind of dispute: we put blanks at the bottom of each page for all the parties to initial. Only the final version gets initialed. All the pages carry numbers in sequence.
Whatever transaction you’re working on, we’d like to help. We can help with the negotiations and we can help you develop a strategy to get your best result … without protecting you out of a deal. You need deal-makers, not deal-breakers.
Once you reach agreement, we can draft whatever documents you need, and we will draft them in plain English, tailored to your particular objectives. They will spell out the deal you made so others will understand it as you do.
We have drafted, among other documents: commercial leases, office leases, residential and commercial property sales contracts, shopping center leases, apartment leases, ground leases, marina leases, notes, deeds of trust, easement purchase and sale agreements, easements, loans with security agreements, and subordination agreements.
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