Henry Winkler, who starred, as the Fonz, in the 70’s sitcom Happy Days said “Assumptions are the termites of relationships…  You see I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle, actually.” 

Assumptions are ideas that we presume to be true and underlie every agreement. The process of testing assumptions and inferences and identifying impediments is essential to a collective understanding and a durable agreement.

Many businesses and agencies do not have the resources or experience to develop comprehensive business or agency agreements that will be reliable, practical and flexible.  A durable agreement must anticipate conditions, situations and events to adapt to changes in people, technology, the environment or the marketplace.  Legal help to draft an agreement may be perceived as costly, unresponsive and burdensome.

Developing a successful business or service requires teamwork, collaboration and relationships.  Many enterprises or initiatives are started by compatible people with a handshake and general oral understandings.  A handshake is still considered a promise that for some is as good as a written contract: a covenant bound by honor, reputation and faith.  This works for many and sometimes all that is needed are guidelines and simple documentation of the understandings.

 

However, formal agreements may be needed when more people with different points of view or more complex issues are involved.  Business transactions can occur quickly, and boilerplate agreements are readily available.  The problem with generic agreements or documents downloaded from the internet is that they use a basic content, design and format and apply it to a variety of situations.  They often use language with legal consequences that are not readily understood by their users.  In addition, the agreements usually are not tailored to specific issues, needs and foreseeable risks. 

Applicable and relevant protocols or agreements may be needed to clarify and ensure obligations, promises and expectations.  Conditions, commitments and investments should be actual and accurately described.  Clarifying the understandings and assumptions of the participants, exploring potential pitfalls and including a fair process for inevitable disagreements and disputes is proactive and in the long run cost effective.

  • We clarify and document oral understandings, expectations and promises.

  • We help identify and articulate the risks and assumptions involved in a project, enterprise or initiative.

  • We assist in developing written, dependable and clear agreements or guidelines that spell out:

    • the specifics of the investments, obligations and commitments,

    • how disagreements and disputes will be resolved,

    • modifying the agreement over time,

    • termination of the agreement, if necessary

  • We help with business formation concepts and agreements.

  • We facilitate proactive partnership and corporate agreements.

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