Enforcement of Business Contracts
Although businesses do not always memorialize their agreements with written contracts, unless they fall within the few exceptions to the rule, oral contracts are enforceable. The main drawback, as most business owners discover, is that after a dispute arises, people have different recollections of what the deal was. The disagreement over what the agreement was can make lawsuits more difficult, but it may be the only rational response if an impasse prevents a reasonable settlement.
Drafting contracts for a one-time or an ongoing relationship can be done by the parties, but is often best left to a legal professional who has seen a variety of disputes, and can help the client guard against the risks of breach. For example, a winning party cannot force the loser to pay its attorney’s fees in court unless there is a contractual (or a statutory) provision to that effect. Similarly, parties cannot be required to resolve their disputes by arbitration unless both sides have consented. The best time to get consent to either an attorney’s fee shift or arbitration is before a dispute arises.
Clientelevision has prepared a number of short guides to commonly asked business law questions.