Writing like a lawyer is strangely fun, and often very useful. If you need to write a legal document, here are some methods and tips that are sure to help you. And in case you need to know, I have incorporated businesses and got a charity (International Hope) approved to 501 C 3 non-profit status when I was fourteen, it’s easy business once you get the jist of it.
- Lawyers include EVERYTHING! The single most important thing to consider, is, well, everything. 🙂 Imagine having the most annoying argument with your sibling, “Well I didn’t say I was going to take you if you grabbed the blue gorilla!” Well, a lawyer talk is kind of like that except you will be writing from a defensive perspective.
- Naming. You will have to establish who you are, and what you will be referred to as, and whom the other party(ies) is and how they will be referred to as, as well. You can use your personal name or your company’s, which ever is appropriate. This typically goes in the very beginning of the document. Do not use words such as “he, she, they” even if it reads funny. Make sure you use what you established at the beginning of the document (artist/manager) every time so there is no confusion, nor any way to argue whom you are referring to. ie: This document is a binding agremeent between, Filiz Dolar, herein referred to as “Manager” and DMX herein referred to as “Artist”.
- Date and Time. When is this agreement taking place? You must write the date and time of the document’s conception as well as when and how long the agreement will last for. Write the date the document was made at the top right part of the page as well as the bottom where both parities will be signing. At the bottom of the page where you will be signing the document, write “date” with a line above it and pencil or rather “pen” in the date. Within the document you can state some such conditions ie: This contract is binding on the days from August the thirteenth (13th), two-thousand and eleven (2011) until August the twentieth(20th), two-thousand and eleven (2011).
- Use Numbers Properly. When stating a number always write that number out, and write the numerical version in parenthesis. ie: three (3).
- Conditions. Under what conditions is the contract valid? Will you still pay your musician if she shows up naked to your charity event? What if it rains? And what obligations must both parties have fulfilled in order to honor the contract? Ie: If the Artist conducts his or her self in a disorderly conduct, the contract may be terminated. OR If the roof is not repaired within said time, the Owner is not responsible for payment of Roofer.
- Define Definitions. So we said if the artist conducts his or her self disorderly, the artist may be terminated. Well, who defines what actions are disorderly? You do, and if you don’t, you are leaving a big sue me or get out of contract free card. Perhaps after writing the previous statement in the contract, you could add: Disorderly conduct is considered as: behaving in an obscene way, conducting sexual gestures or using sexual language, using hateful gestures or language, using language purposefully that elicits offense, using, talking of using, or gesturing usage of illegal drugs, or behaving in any other manner that the Manager may interpret as disorderly which is left solely to the Manager’s discretion. Put that in Hannah Montana’s contract 😉 lol
- Never Assume. Never, ever, assume anything. When you are writing an important legal document include absolutely everything. Your going to aid people in need? What defines “in need”? Who are they? Where do they live? How will you help them? When will your aid stop? When are they no longer needy? What will you use? Where will you use it? How long will you use it and how will it help them? How will you document it? Where will you buy supplies from and how much will it cost? How will you transport the goods and who will be paying for the goods, transportation, etc. Write it even if you don’t think it’s relevant.
- The Unknown. This is perhaps one of the most important, and interesting aspects to write from. You should, to protect yourself, consider all possibilities, and consider the possibilities that you haven’t considered! Confused? Good! A good opt-out: “Manager may at any time cancel contract for undisclosed private reasons” or “Manager is not responsible for weather, or other ‘acts of god’ that the Manager cannot control”.
- Copy! Google another contract or form that is similar to what you are trying to do and use their format as much as you can!
- Again, Include Everything! If you do nothing else, you will succeed in writing your document if you include everything you can possibly think of in a very definitive way. So define everything, and explain everything as if you are writing to an alien!
So Lets look at an example. Let’s say that you are an event manager and you wish to use a certain band at an event. The band will get paid a lump sum and X percent of the door fee, let’s say 50% of the door funds and $100.00 for performing. If they don’t show up, they will obviously not get paid, and on the other hand, if something crashes your event, say an earthquake, they will not get paid either.
Jan. 13, 2010
This is a binding contract between Westcoast Sunkist Studios, herein referred to as “Manager” and DMX herein referred to as “Artist”. The Artist will perform five (5) songs at the “Doitbig Park” on the “Wowsa Stage” at five (5) pm, on October thirtieth (30th) two-thousand eleven (2011), at the “Sunny Side Up” event, located at 3131 W. Hykle Rd Scottsdale, AZ. The total time on stage will be one (1) hour, beginning at five (5) pm, ending at six (6) pm, which thereafter the artist will have to evacuate the stage. The Manager will provide the Artist with two (2) private rooms furnished with beverages which the Artist requests. The Manager will also pay the Artist one-hundred (100) dollars upon completion of performance, and the Artist will receive fifty percent (50%) of funds acquired from admission fees to the event. The Manager may at any time cancel the contract for private undisclosed reasons. The Manager is not responsible for weather, or other ‘acts of god’ that are not in the control of the Manager
___________________ ______________________ ____________
Manager’s Signature Printed Name Date
___________________ ______________________ ____________
Artist’s Signature Printed Name Date
Not intended as legal advise 🙂