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a blog by Chris Barrow

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Contracts are for cheats

I’ve been obliged to read through a number of contracts recently, for clients, for 7connections and for myself.

In each case I reached the conclusion that the lawyers were focused on covering their client’s backsides if the other party cheated on the deal.

The contracts were not codes of conduct, neither were they ideals of performance.

They were just endless paragraphs about what happens if there is a huge fall-out because one party or the other has attempted to renege on the spirit of the deal.

This put me in mind of an episode that I witnessed quite a few years ago (before dentists, before business coaching) when one of my financial planning clients sold his business.

The purchasers lawyers produced a voluminous (and, guess what, expensive) document that covered every imaginable situation in which cheating could take place.

My client attended a meeting with the purchaser, to which he had been requested to bring a phalanx of professional advisors, to form a line against the vendor’s phalanx, around a hotel room board table.

After some minutes of discussion about minutiae by the lawyers, my client raised his hand to stop the conversation and stated to all concerned:

“the vendor and I will agree this deal on a conversation and a handshake, or there will be no deal at all”

The vendor thought for a moment and agreed, after all, they had already worked together for some years.

The professionals were dismissed there and then and the respective parties went for lunch.

In the real world, if you don’t trust, respect or like someone or an organisation, you shouldn’t be buying anything off them, selling anything to them, employing them or working for them.

Lawyers exist because we don’t listen to our own instincts and walk away when it doesn’t feel right.

Me included (in the past).

Personally, I don’t need lawyers any more.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

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