Contracts and other legal documents need to be reviewed.
I had a client that was an e-retail/marketing company. They would occasionally schedule big corporate events at one of the nicer, local hotels. These events would be heavily advertised and announced well in advance. People from across the country would attend for the weekend. Obviously, the company could not afford to have it canceled at the last minute, or it would lose face and infuriate its customers.
Well, on a recent occasion, this client scheduled one of these corporate events at a nice, local resort. Arrangements were made with the hotel, including a signed contract. My client paid the deposit and was eagerly preparing for the event, scheduled to occur in a couple of days. It was heavily promoted, as usual and the reservations were nearly triple what they had anticipated. Three days before the event I got a frenzied call from my client’s Executive Vice President, cursing about the hotel and their ridiculous demands.
My client had paid an initial deposit to secure the space and catering for the event. It had understood that all it needed to pay was an initial deposit while it could then pay the remainder after the event. The hotel was demanding full payment before the event. The EVP was furious that the hotel was trying to jerk him around. I was then handed the contract between the hotel and my client. Here’s the rub: I was never involved in the negotiation or review of the contract. After I read through it, I informed the EVP that the hotel was indeed correct in its demands as the contract called for full payment prior to the event. In fact, my client was supposed to have paid the remainder of the contracted amount nearly two weeks before the event. My client (and the EVP) had misunderstood the contract and the result was confusion and frustration.
Had my client involved me in at least reviewing the contract before signing it (or better yet, included me in the preceding negotiations), this problem could have been resolved before coming to a head. Involving your attorney early (and often) will limit the amount of problems you have down the road.