Update July 6, 2020:

Contract review services are an important way to make sure that you fully understand a contract before agreeing to it. A contract is a legally binding document and should be taken seriously. Legal contracts can be filled with:

  • Legal terms
  • Confusing language
  • Wordy paragraphs

When you hire a lawyer to review your contract they can clarify any confusing language and make sure you know all of your rights and responsibilities under it. Your lawyer will not only help you understand the terminology but also how the contract could affect you or your business. They can also help you see and avoid possible traps.

During your contract review service, your lawyer will:

  • Review the terms of the contract.
  • Go over any legal jargon and what it means.
  • Go over any areas that may be confusing or considered ambiguous.

Consider your lawyer your guide who is there to help you find the right direction and ensure that you are safe.

What Does a Contract Deal With?

A contract is basically the finalization of a negotiated deal. some agreements are more complex than others and the contract is used to govern all of the facets of the relationship from both sides. A contract will deal with a number of issues related to the deal such as:

  • The interest rates and fees for late payments.
  • The protocols for damaged merchandise or shipments.
  • The rights under which the contract could be sold.
  • The ways in which the agreement could be terminated.
  • What happens if unforeseen events occur?
  • How and when an agreement can be amended.
  • How long the agreement will stay in effect.
  • What will happen in the event the contract is breached.
  • How damages will be calculated if necessary.
  • How disputes over the contract will be settled.
  • What jurisdiction lawsuits can be filed?

Contracts are typically written to favor of the party that drafts the contract, and the terms of the contract can have a direct impact on your business. This makes reviewing your legal documents before you sign them of vital importance to avoid possible litigation and make sure the contract is not too one-sided.

If you have never had your contracts reviewed, it is highly recommended to have a legal audit performed. The primary purpose of a legal audit is to assess your business's risk of exposure with its current contracts. Your lawyer will review all of the contracts you have entered into.

After reviewing the contracts, they can discuss with you what types of risks your business could possibly face. They perform this risk assessment based on the understanding of how the legal system will view contract disputes. While you may focus on getting the deal done, your attorney may focus on what could happen if it goes wrong.

What Types of Contracts Should Be Reviewed?

Almost any business contract can benefit from the review process with some of the most common contracts reviewed being:

  • Commercial leases
  • Client services agreements
  • Employee contracts
  • Independent contractor agreements
  • Trade agreements
  • Licensing agreements
  • Terms of service
  • Nondisclosure agreements
  • Partnership agreements
  • Promissory notes
  • Separation agreements
  • Vendor contracts

What Do You Do After a Contract Review?

After your contract review, your lawyer will address with you any terms and clauses that:

  • Can put you at a disadvantage
  • Are ambiguous
  • Limit your rights
  • Could cause a dispute

After discussing all of these issues, your lawyer will advise you to:

  • Sign the deal "as is."
  • Ask for modifications.
  • Request and redraft.
  • Redraft their own contract.
  • Renegotiate the deal.

The recommendation will depend on the importance of the deal, your current situation, and the terms of the contract. Remember the lawyer is there to offer you advice, but the final decision lies with you. Many small business owners are afraid to request changes for fear of losing the deal, but a little back and forth is common for both sides to agree to the terms of the contract.

Business Contract Review Checklist

You should always review the contract before giving it to your lawyer for them to review. This can allow you to prepare any questions or highlight any areas you are concerned about. You should make sure that all the parties are identified, and each representative is authorized to represent the business or organization.

If you need help with contract review services, you can post your legal need in UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.