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Beth Agnew noted: <<I often have clauses in my contract that the client
typically doesn't include, such as kill fees, and waivers of liability.
The problem with merging two contracts, is that the client might agree
to your specific terms, but not want to incorporate such terms into
"their contract". They also generally do not want to just use "your"
contract, even if their clauses are added. Silly, but, hey, lawyers.>>
I'm the first to mock lawyers--not without some fear that I may some
day have to depend on one to save my sorry butt <g>--but there's
actually a good reason for this reluctance to simply merge contracts.
Lawyers, like engineers, programmers, scientists, and other SMEs, have
their own jargon, and it's not the same English language the rest of us
As a result of jurisprudence [sic], certain wordings have come to mean
certain things because they have been interpreted in specific ways in
previous court cases. You alter those wordings at your peril, because
the new wordings may no longer match previous wordings that everyone
agrees on and can thus lead to protracted and expensive disputes over
the new meaning. Hence, it's a reasonable and conservative approach not
to want to merge contracts and modify wordings, particularly if the two
contracts are written based on the jurisprudence for different
jurisdictions. If you think legalities get messy within a jurisdiction,
the mind boggles at what happens between jurisdictions.
I agree that this seems silly--speaking as someone who spends his
working life trying to ensure clear communication--but there you have
it: the reality is that jurisprudence and a bizarrely distorted version
of the English language are the reality in the legal system. Without
being experts in that language, we must tread very carefully in
<<Contracts are really meant to codify the meeting of minds of two
parties to an agreement. Any points of conflict should be discussed,
negotiated, and sorted out before you start to do business together.
Don't count on the contract saving a situation gone bad.>>
That's a crucial point. If it comes down to a legal battle, everyone
loses--but most particularly, you do, because you don't have pockets as
deep as the typical large company.
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