Ever wondered why one of the very first subjects taught in law school was the Law of Contracts?
Or for that matter, ever wondered why CLAT has an entire module on Contract Laws? What makes it so important?
Let me tell you about a short instance.
Today morning, on my way back from holiday, I was discussing tax filings with my mother. While discussing various tax saving options, she asked me if I have my rental agreement in place. Confused, I answered in the negative. I told her that in Goa, where I live, majority tenants don’t have a rental agreement.
This is when she explained how the agreement along with the rent receipt with a revenue stamp would act as a tax saving mechanism. The lack of one agreement in place, could now possibly cost me a lot of tax.
This instance isn’t an isolated one, especially for laymen. Even as lawyers, today, we fail in keeping up with the various laws, let alone knowing the nitty gritty of them.
However, come to think of it, contract drafting is a skill, if acquired, that will pay off in any given field of law. Let me take you through this one by one:
- Contract drafting, negotiation as well as the resolution of contractual disputes is important for all lawyers. This is irrespective of whether they work in law firms, pursue litigation independently or in a chamber of a senior advocate, or work in an in-house legal department of a company. If you didn’t know already, 80-90% of the work of junior lawyers in a law firm and in-house corporate legal teams involve drafting and reviewing contracts.
- When you are litigating, this is not true. You are then not drafting too many contracts if you are the average lawyer in litigation (though we would advise that you should) though most of your work is related to what can go wrong if a contract isn’t well drafted. It is not directly related to contract per se, but a dispute arising out of a contract, maybe. Although most high-value cases that come to an advocate’s desk may involve contracts, the most important reason for learning contract drafting is actually different.
- When you are a litigating lawyer, in the initial years money is hard to come by from merely arguing cases in the court. Seniors pay very less in litigation in most cases, and getting clients is tough till you make a name in the court. 5-10 years easily go into making sufficient name to earn a decent living. This is why many young lawyers today have to stop litigating and find jobs that can pay their living costs. This is in spite of them wanting to continue to litigate.
- However, an easy solution is to draft contracts. You easily get paid 10-15,000 INR for drafting a contract. You can do this work on the side to earn a decent living if you are very good at contract drafting. Drafting a few contracts on the side can easily earn you INR 50-60,000 per month, and help you to get clients who begin to trust you over time. These clients will come to you when they have a dispute as well.
- Business managers may want to do this course when they deal with a lot of contracts, or high-value contracts frequently. For example, project managers, contract managers, admin managers, operations managers.
Every field in law, whether it is Intellectual Property, Media, Tech, Real Estate, M&A, Investment Law, Banking, Tenancy or even Employment Law, will require you to know how to draft a sound contract.
What’s sad is that while law schools teach us the basics of the law of contracts, main sections of the contract act and case laws around them, they don’t teach us how to draft or review an agreement. Negotiation is the other major missing piece, apart from contractual dispute resolution.
Let me give you one example.
The very first contract I drew up was for a designer client. She wanted a Product Design Contract. She was my first client, hence extremely important to me. I knew I had to give her a sound contract. However, how does one draft a sound contract?
Were the two semesters at law school teaching us contracts enough? Were the readily available templates what I had to use?
Like any rookie, I got hold of multiple templates and decided to travel this path solo. As I began drafting, I realised that there were multiple blanks across the document because of lack of information and in some cases knowledge.
For instance, I didn’t know if there was a specific limit on the percentage of royalty a designer could claim in India. This was my first lesson – never draft a contract without discussing the specifics with your client – not even the first draft.
So, leaving behind the templates, I gave a call to my client. Scheduled a conference call with my boss and noted down all the details. Details are the key to a good contract. Later, after a couple of conference calls and meetings, within two days, I had the final draft ready – something I had drafted from scratch.
However, the process was extremely troubling. And in the end, I was not exactly sure about the quality of work. I will not tell you if I missed out on major clauses and if I had to hear a mouthful from my boss in between.
This was a relatively simple contract. What about complex SHAs, EPC contracts or government contracts that run into hundreds of pages?
These are lessons I learnt in my first year as a lawyer. I could have easily avoided these had I been guided and taught how to draft a contract earlier. As interns, most of us never get a chance to draft an agreement. If you’ve ever been asked to draft one, consider yourself lucky.
So where do we cultivate the habit of drafting? How do we know what we draft is good? Will we ever have access to industry insiders to tell us where we may be going wrong?
LawSikho, with the idea of teaching law through practical insights and with the help of lawyers working in the industry, has launched the Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution.
It is the most comprehensive course on contract drafting. With 16 modules in place, after pursuing this course, you can review, draft or negotiate any kind of contract with remarkable ease.
What Is The Course Content?
MODULE #1 ORIENTATION AND TOOLS FOR EFFECTIVE CONTRACT DRAFTING
MODULE #2 CREATION AND EXECUTION OF COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS
MODULE #3 OPERATIVE CLAUSES OF A CONTRACT
MODULE #4 HOW TO DRAFT RISK MITIGATION AND BOILERPLATE CLAUSES
MODULE #5 CONTRACT BREACH AND CONSEQUENCES
MODULE #6 CONTRACT NEGOTIATION
MODULE #7 GENERAL CONTRACTS
MODULE #8 COMMERCIAL AGREEMENTS
MODULE #9 CORPORATE CONTRACTS
MODULE #10 LENDING AND SECURITY DOCUMENTS
MODULE #11 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AGREEMENTS
MODULE #12 INTRODUCTION TO TECHNOLOGY CONTRACTS
MODULE #13 COMMON INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY CONTRACTS
MODULE #14 E-COMMERCE CONTRACTS
MODULE #15 CONTRACT-RELATED DOCUMENTS & POST CONTRACTUAL MATTERS
MODULE #16 DISPUTE RESOLUTION, ENFORCEMENT AND LITIGATION STRATEGY
How Is This Course Any Different? What Will You Learn?
Once you are clear with the basics, a detailed analysis of more than 90 different contracts belonging to 8 different industry sectors or themes has been undertaken, so that you are comfortable with all kinds of contract-drafting work, whether it pertains to general commercial agreements, corporate contracts, technology contracts, IP contracts, etc.
Contract drafting needs to be coupled with dispute resolution and enforcement aspects of contract-related disputes. That will enable you to draft superior contracts and also litigate or arbitrate more effectively.
We realized contract drafting is like karate or learning to play a musical instrument – the more you practice, the better you get. To make sure you’ve really got it, we have created more than 100 micro-exercises, which enable you to form necessary brain and memory patterns to apply the knowledge in real-life solutions. You will know what to do in a situation because you have already dealt with it before.
You will build your muscle by working on smaller problems and then begin to work on more complex and challenging situations.
When you walk into a real-life situation, you will be pleasantly surprised to realize how much of it you have already tackled before through the practice exercises.
Who Can Enroll For This Course?
You can take this course even if you have not studied contract law (or any law for that matter). Businessmen, project management and contract management professionals and other working professionals who regularly need to deal with contracts will also find this course extremely beneficial.
Course Commencement Date: 1st July 2018
Last Date To Enroll For The Course: 30th June 2018
Course Fee: INR 20,000 [Introductory Price – Only Available Till 30th June 2018]
Duration Of The Course: 1 Year
Number of Seats: 20 (Limited Seats)
To Enroll For The Course: Click Here.
Do you want to explore how you can use this course to progress in your career?
If you have any question regarding the course, please feel free to get in touch with us. Please email us at [email protected] or schedule a career counseling session by calling 011-39595032.