Contract Lawyer Houston
Nearly all businesses need contracts.
Although it may be tempting to try and draft a contract yourself, a properly drafted contract requires skill and specific knowledge.
By having an experienced Houston contract attorney draft your contract, you can better protect your business’s interests.
What Is a Contract?
A contract is a promise, or set of promises, between two or more parties that the law will enforce. Some contracts, such as those for purchasing real estate, must be in writing.
But generally, there is no requirement that a contract be written. A contract can be a verbal promise, like promising a neighbor that you will pay them $50 to mow your lawn.
But even where a written contract is not strictly required, it is always a good idea to put your contract in writing. When you have only a verbal agreement, it is much more difficult to prove the terms of the contract if there is a dispute.
Drafting a Contract
There are several basic requirements for a contract to be valid:
- There must be an offer by one party that is accepted by the other party;
- There must be some exchange of money, goods, or services, which is referred to as “consideration”;
- There must be a “meeting of the minds,” that is, both parties must understand and agree to the terms of the contract; and
- All contracting parties must sign the agreement with the intent that it be binding.
Some important terms to include in your contract are:
- The rights of each party;
- The obligations of each party;
- Duration of the contract;
- A description of the services or goods that will be provided;
- Details about price, interest, and payment schedules; and
- Agreements regarding dispute resolution.
A contract lawyer can help you draft a binding contract with all the important terms necessary to protect your interests.
Why You Should Have a Lawyer Draft a Contract
Just knowing the basics, or using a sample template to draft your contract, leaves your business vulnerable to potential disputes. Contracts, and the laws governing them, are complicated. In addition to Texas statutes, a body of law developed by the courts over many years governs contract interpretation.
Seeking the assistance of a business contract attorney helps you ensure that all your contract terms are carefully considered, that the contract is tailored to your specific business needs, and that the contract will be deemed enforceable should a problem arise.
Adam Curley, the founder and lead attorney at The Curley Law Firm, is an experienced contract attorney in Houston. He is detail-oriented and has written hundreds of legally binding contracts.
Well-Drafted Business Contracts
There are many types of contracts. Some contracts are created without a single word written. Other contracts are written, but they are not clear about certain terms or important information is omitted.
Then, there are contracts that are entered into with a clear understanding and each term well documented. Attempting to save some money on the front end by drafting a poorly made contract can potentially result in expensive litigation and even destroy a business.
A well-drafted business contract that includes clearer terms results in fewer disputes and less litigation.
Relying on a self-drafted contract or a template you find on the internet can present several dangers to your business.
When people create their own contracts, they generally use vague language. For example, one common contractual term is “timely.” If timely is not defined within the contract, then it is left to interpretation.
Since these issues do not become issues until something bad happens down the road, it can lead to expensive litigation as to what “timely” really means.
Also, if the self-drafted contract uses boilerplate language pulled from the internet, it may run the risk of not adhering to the specific law of the state where it is enforced.
Internet “Fill in the Blanks” Contracts
When you use a template, you run serious risks. No two businesses are alike, and form contracts may not contain the specifics the parties envisioned when they reached their agreement.
When an attorney is involved from the outset, it allows you to explain your interests before entering into a contract.
When your attorney knows exactly what benefits and protections you are looking to gain from a contract, they can negotiate the contract terms and explain them so you know exactly what you are signing.
Also, when a lawyer has knowledge of your business’s specific needs, it gives them more negotiating power by allowing them to hone in on provisions that are most important to your business.
At the core of any business transaction, there is a contract that dictates the relationship between parties. A breach of contract occurs when that agreement is violated.
A breach of contract can occur either when one party fails to perform a promise made or otherwise violates a term of the agreement. Contract disputes can arise from disagreements with partners, vendors, customers, other businesses, or third parties. Any time a party fails to comply with a binding and legally enforceable contract, a breach of contract has occurred. Any time a party acts unlawfully to a binding and legally enforceable contract, a breach of contract has occurred.
Breach of contract can be either material or non-material, and the level of the breach often dictates the level of response and whether the relationship can be salvaged. There is a concept called anticipatory breach, where a party indicates that it will breach the agreement or fail to comply with essential terms. This can result in damages for the other party to the contract.
Remedies for a Contract Breach
Under Texas law, various remedies are available for breach of contract, including:
- Actual damages, or the actual monetary damages a party suffers as a result of the breach;
- Reliance damages or the damages sustained as a result of one party relying on the promise of another;
- Restitution, or costs paid to make the injured party whole again
- Specific performance of the terms of the contract by the breaching party;
- Revision of the agreement to more accurately reflect the conditions based on one party’s partial performance; and
- Rescission of the agreement to cancel the promises made by all parties.
The Curley Law Firm’s contract lawyer in Houston has experience representing clients in a wide variety of contract disputes. He helps clients navigate the initial dispute process, the court process, and the resolution process when they encounter a breach of contract. He also has experience both prosecuting and defending breach of contract claims and can work with you to determine the best course of action whenever a contract dispute arises.
Tortious interference is a separate cause of action from breach of contract but arises in business contexts where contracts are often at issue. Tortious interference occurs whenever a third party interferes with a business relationship between two parties.
Tortious interference with a contract occurs whenever a third party interferes with a formal contractual relationship. Tortious interference with a business relationship occurs whenever a third party interferes with a relationship that has not yet been formalized, resulting in the relationship not going forward.
Benefits of a Contract Dispute Lawyer
With over ten years of experience as a contract dispute lawyer, Adam Curley, the founder and lead attorney at The Curley Law Firm has seen the pitfalls of a poorly drafted contract.
Knowing what potential issues may arise helps you avoid the major pitfalls of a self-written form contract. It’s beneficial to have an experienced contract lawyer who has seen enough deals go bad, because they can identify potential problems and address them in your contract.
Contract disputes can arise in any number of contexts. The Curley Law Firm has helped prosecute and defend breaches occurring from:
- Sales orders/work orders/purchase agreements;
- Non-compete and non-solicitation agreements;
- Partnership/shareholder/business ownership disputes;
- Management agreements;
- Operating agreements;
- Licensing agreements;
- Franchise agreements;
- Vendor relationships;
- Shareholder agreements; and
- Interference with existing or prospective business relationships.
In some circumstances, there may be a significant hurdle to proving that an agreement or contract existed. This situation occurs when the deal was not written, or when the deal is unenforceable for some reason.
In such an instance, a party can request that a court provide an equitable remedy to resolve the dispute. This is called quantum meruit, which means the payment of a reasonable sum for services rendered or work done when a legally enforceable agreement does not stipulate the amount due.
Hiring a Contract Attorney in Houston
If you are a Texas business in need of a contract or experiencing a contract dispute, investing in a contract lawyer in Houston will help you ensure that your business is protected.
The Curley Law Firm understands that when drafting a contract, it must serve both the business and legal needs of the company. With extensive contract law experience in Houston, let me draft contracts that serve your business, avoid disputes, and will be held enforceable in court.
Houston contract attorney Adam Curley would be happy to discuss your contract needs and disputes with you and offer you the guidance and representation you need. Contact The Curley Law Firm online today or give us a call at (832) 225-3448.