We are often asked by business clients “what should I do before we get an appointment to consult with you.” Among the most important is the documentation of what has transpired between the parties. Simple emails, cell phone photographs, and text messages that memorialize the representations made by each party, what was agreed to, and what remains for further negotiation or discussion are very helpful. When you are negotiating with people operating in good faith these forms of information refresh recollections and promote efficient negotiations. When you are negotiating with parties who are forgetful, willfully blind, or worse, you have a record available to protect yourself and your company. In particular, when litigation arises your verbal testimony on a matter can be corraborated by documentation. In extreme cases you can quickly reach the conclusion that you do not want to do business with a particular person or entity. In cases where the person or entity has a product or service you must have, you can adjust your price or time horizon on a transaction to reflect the fact that you will be employing an attorney to draft a comprehensive contract between you and the other party or parties to the transaction. Additionally, and equally important, is the documentation during the administration of the contract. This is most important when a contract involves a course of dealing with the other party over a period of time.

When in doubt, document everything carefully and consult with legal counsel as early in the negotiating process as possible. We have repeatedly seen situations where the party who is more adept at creating documentation supporting their position prevails even if an injustice results.

At Caldecott & Forro, PLC, we have time-tested strategies to address how best to document business relationships and contracts with whom you need to establish and maintain a productive business relationship.

This article is not a substitute for legal advice in the context of a specific case. Caldecott & Forro, PLC provides free initial consultations to clients and potential clients on all family law matters.