In a fast-paced practice with budget-conscious clients, attorneys typically talk, make agreements and then move on. In most cases, the agreements are upheld, and the parties abide by them. For some, however, one side fails to uphold the commitment and may even dispute the terms of the agreement. The resulting dispute can arise from a myriad of reasons – running the gamut from a simple miscommunication to lack of integrity. And the problem is, you never know which agreements will be upheld and which will later become the subject of dispute.
The confirmation letter has become a lost art. In a carefully drafted confirmation letter, a prudent attorney takes the time to set out the precise terms of the agreement that just occurred, and sends it to the other participants for their confirmation, adjustment, and (most often) silence. These writings typically represent the best evidence of the parties’ intent at the time and afford the parties an opportunity to immediately clarify any miscommunication. While silence in the face of a confirmation email does not equal assent, it is, however, sound evidence for a finder of fact that there was no disagreement to the terms of the agreement.
So in this lightning fast business environment of wheeling and dealing, take the time to put pen to paper (or email) on any agreement that you would later want to enforce. Those few minutes that you invest now can save precious time and resources in resolving conflict down the road.
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