Sometimes it pays to spend money. Last night a very good client of mine at a big corporation sent over a confidentiality agreement which I’ll need to sign to work on an upcoming project. It basically reiterates an agreement we already have in place, but is very specific about which information I won’t disclose. That’s all fine. I was concerned, though, because the agreement mentions a deadline for getting the work done with no mention of my client’s responsibilities in meeting that deadline.
Although I don’t think it will be a problem, I worry that I’ll be on the hook for breach of contract if the project isn’t completed on the due date because the client doesn’t send me needed materials or feedback on time. Paranoid? Maybe, but I’d rather be (contractually) safe than (financially) sorry.
At first, I considered going it alone. I started to write an email to the client explaining what I wanted changed. When I noticed that I was trying to write in legalese, even though I’m not a lawyer, I decided it was time to stop and call in an expert. Through my networking efforts, I had been introduced to a lawyer who works with small businesses (that’s me) and is an expert on intellectual property (not so important here, but will be in other cases). I made the call.
As I write this, my lawyer is drafting up changes to the agreement in a way that my client’s lawyers will understand and respect. And I’m glad that I have someone on my team to protect little ol’ me in a war of words with the corporate lawyers. The relief I feel is worth the 30 minutes to 1 hour of lawyer-time I’ll be billed.
When do you decide it’s time to call in an expert?