Contract Review and Negotiation
Contracts; deals; equity arrangements; RSU, LTIP, MTIP, commission, and variable compensation plans; and other professional agreements can be complicated – laden with legalese and jargon that most people don’t fully understand. That’s why a Texas contract review lawyer can be so valuable. But timing is important. The best time to negotiate is after a deal is proposed and before you sign it.
If you’re considering signing a contract, the company has proposed a deal, or you think an employer or business partner may have violated a contract you signed, we can help you negotiate or figure out if you’re entitled to compensation in the event of a breach.
A company almost always has its attorneys review any agreements they present to executives and employees. Likewise, you should have an attorney review before you sign, too. The problem is that most employees, contractors, physicians, and even executives don’t have contract attorneys ready on demand to review paperwork. That’s where we come in, to provide this critical service on short notice and on a totally confidential basis.
Do lawyers review contracts?
Yes, employment attorneys review contracts and assist with business negotiations. Contracts can be incredibly dense and confusing, and employees (or potential employees) often want the peace of mind of knowing they’re not being duped or misled – or signing away rights they would rather keep. An employee rights lawyer can go through a contract with a fine-toothed comb, ensuring that there are no hidden loopholes or other red flags.
In the case of doctors, physicians, surgeons, executives, media talent, and other professionals, signing an employment contract is standard. Our strong suggestion is to always have an employment lawyer review any major work agreement before you sign it.
What is a legal contract review?
A legal contract review, conducted by a board-certified employment lawyer, is an extremely thorough, in-depth review of a contract, including all fine print. Employees and employers often hire attorneys to review contracts and oversee negotiations to make sure a contract is sound, clear, and legally binding, with no surprises awaiting either party.
These are some of the clauses and details that a legal contract review might include:
- Confidentiality agreements
- Intellectual property (IP) rights and assignment
- Length and nature of employment
- Non-compete clauses
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)
- Non-solicitation clauses
- Remote work clauses/accommodations
- Salary and overtime pay
- Scope of employment (location, duties, etc.)
- Severance pay (golden parachute)
- Variable compensation, bonus targets, equity milestones
While many attorneys review contracts before they’re signed, it’s also common for an employee to request a legal contract review after they’ve been fired or otherwise retaliated against, to see if their employer violated the terms of their existing deal.
What are the advantages of hiring a lawyer to draft or review a contract?
There are several advantages to working with an employee rights attorney who can review, edit, or even draft your contract. An attorney can help you:
- Advise on standard terms for executive packages
- Avoid potential pitfalls or loopholes that aren’t immediately apparent
- Clarify confusing jargon/legal language
- Ensure a contract or agreement is legally binding
- Ensure sufficient severance pay
- Ensure you’re getting paid what you expect
- Prevent miscommunication between you and your employer
- Retain your intellectual property rights
- Retain your right to work for other clients (if a contractor)
- Retain your right to work remotely or from a specific location
- Spot other red flags that could spell trouble in the future
- Work directly with your employer or its general counsel when appropriate
Though it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you receive an employment offer, reaching out to a worker’s rights lawyer could save you quite a bit of time, money, and frustration in the long run. It could even save you from being sued by your employer. And remember – your leverage is at its highest point right before you sign a proposed employment offer or agreement.
To give one example, many employment agreements contain an agreement to later agree on equity, commission percentages, or bonus targets as well as a merger clause. Beware these benign-sounding clauses, as they may unfairly limit your ability to file a lawsuit should the startup or company you work for decide not to make good on the ownership, equity, or bonus they promised in the earlier handshake deal.
What types of contracts do attorneys review?
An employment lawyer can review a range of different contracts for you, including the following:
- Confidentiality agreement
- Employment offer/contract
- Merger or acquisition agreement
- Non-compete agreement
- Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
- Non-solicitation agreement
- Partnership agreement
- Plan document and options vesting agreements
- Sale of business
- Severance agreement
- Shareholder agreement
No matter what type of contract or business agreement you need reviewed, an attorney may be able to help you make sure there are no unwelcome surprises in store.
What makes a contract valid in Texas?
In Texas, for a contract to be legally binding, it has to meet these three requirements:
- Offer: The contract or agreement is offered to the employee.
- Acceptance: The contract or agreement is accepted by the employee. Offer and acceptance together show mutual assent.
- Consideration: A benefit or something of value (such as pay or stock) is promised in exchange for the agreed-upon action or service.
This may sound straightforward, but business and employment arrangements can be surprisingly complicated, often winding up in legal gray areas. If you’re not sure if your contract is valid under Texas law, contact us for a free, confidential consultation.
Should I sign a release of claims form?
A release of claims, also known as a liability waiver or a general release, can be dangerous for employees. By signing this release, a worker loses their right to sue their employer or business partner – for discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, or any other cause – forever.
Many severance agreements include a release of claims. If you’re not sure if you should sign this release, you should speak with an employee rights attorney who can review the agreement, including all the fine print.
How long does a contract review take?
At Kaplan Law Firm, we’re often able to meet with you to review a contract within 24 hours of you reaching out to book an appointment – sometimes faster. We understand that professional negotiations are extremely time-sensitive, so we prioritize these reviews – as well as the editing of proposed contracts – and complete them as quickly as possible.
If you need the peace of mind that comes with a legal contract review, and you’re under a time crunch, don’t hesitate to contact us to see if we can help. You can book a consultation immediately. If you fill out an intake form, you should hear back from us within 24 hours.
Does Kaplan Law Firm review and draft contracts?
Absolutely. Kaplan Law Firm is an employment law and civil rights firm that’s been proudly serving Texans since 2015. Founded by Austin Kaplan in Austin, Texas, our firm has represented hundreds of clients in a wide range of employment and civil rights matters, including contract reviews and claims for breach of contract, as well as cases related to discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour violations, and whistleblowers.
We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients; received dozens of five-star reviews on Google and Avvo; and our attorneys have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Fast Company, and on CNN.
Reach out today for a free, confidential case review to see if we can help you.
How Can We Help?
Austin Kaplan was indeed, very helpful in resolving a dispute I had with a restaurant, and his team helped as well to connect the dots in order to make this procedure an easy-going succession of discussions with the other party. From our first meeting, I knew Austin was a trustworthy man who carefully listened and guided me through the steps – a great lawyer who chooses just causes. Justice was served.
— Sam, Unpaid Wages
Austin was impressive and able to accomplish the results in my case. Like me, he is goal oriented, and his approach to my case was not only efficient but extremely effective. If you are looking for a lawyer that will provide personalized attention and help you accomplish your goals efficiently, I highly recommend Austin.
— Richard, Unpaid Overtime (FLSA) / Retaliation
Austin was dedicated, responsive, answered all my questions quickly. I really appreciate that he was always available by email and text message. His team worked hard and quickly to get me a great result. With Austin’s help, we ultimately succeeded in achieving positive change, not only for me, but also for many others as well. I highly recommend Austin Kaplan and Kaplan Law Firm.
— William, Civil Rights
Great Law Firm. Really professional.
— Marcello P.
It was an absolute pleasure working with Austin Kaplan and his staff. They are very personable, easily available for questions and procedures, incredibly knowledgeable, and they made a terrible employment experience easy to deal with. I cannot say enough great things about the Kaplan Law Firm.
— Shelby L.
Austin Kaplan is a highly qualified attorney. Austin helped recover my unpaid wages from my employer after they gave me the run around for several months. After Austin got involved, it only took one week to recover my unpaid wages. Austin is a trustworthy and I was extremely satisfied with his representation.
— L.V., Unpaid Wages
I reached out to Austin in hopes he could offer guidance with a difficult employment situation which had me feeling helpless and depleted. In my initial meeting with Austin, he offered insight into employment law confirming my suspicions that my employer was not acting in compliance with legal expectations.
Austin was thorough, compassionate, and knowledgeable as he explained legal definitions and the implications associated with various potential actions I might engage. Through the course of the next several weeks as Austin and I worked together, he displayed rich creativity and a deep understanding of the art of both law and negations while always being open to collaborative discussion. Having Austin on my team offered me the support I needed to feel empowered and take action and, ultimately, led me to a resolution which feels both fair and absolute. I have already recommended Austin to several personal friends/colleagues and will continue to voice my support for Austin and his team.
— S.L., Severance Negotiation, Sexual Harassment, Retaliation
I truly enjoyed working with Austin Kaplan of Kaplan Law Firm. Mr. Kaplan listened to my concerns, reviewed my employment agreement in detail, and then provided some good, solid feedback on what my best options were. In addition, he went above and beyond in researching additional information even after our meeting. I would definitely recommend Mr. Kaplan for legal advice concerning employment related matters.
— Matt, Financial Services Non-Compete and Employment Agreement Advice