Negotiating Contracts in the Era of COVID-19

By Brandon Vogel

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When it comes to negotiation, there are three pillars: knowing the deal, drafting the deal and protecting your clients.

These three pillars will soon have a “COVID overlay” according to New York attorney Jill Pilgrim of Pilgrim & Associates.  Some of these COVID-19 considerations may in fact be “deal killers.”

“COVID-19 is going to impact us physically, psychologically and emotionally forever,” said Pilgrim. “We cannot unknow the impact we are observing and experiencing of COVID-19 on businesses and people.”

Contracts will address the “what ifs” from a post-COVID-19 perspective moving forward. Pilgrim explained that in the context of a contract negotiation “the reality of COVID-19 could reasonably be anticipated to lead to non-performance and/or the death of a key party to the deal.”

Pilgrim will discuss this timely topic on Tuesday’s CLE webinar, “Negotiating Contracts in the Era of COVID-19: Contract Provisions, Major Unexpected Events” to be held from 11 a.m. -12 p.m.

When businesses come back

Pilgrim said to begin a contract negotiation, you really need to understand the true nature of the business deal. She explained that “inevitably, when drafting a contract, you discover questions that the client has not thought of.”

She has seen her fair share of poorly-drafted contracts and provisions throughout her career. Pilgrim foresees that when businesses reopens, “it’s going to come back on steroids.” As such, it may lead to even more rushed and carelessly drafted contracts from business owners eager to get back to work and get the money flowing.

“As a good attorney, you need to make sure the contract is clear, precise, reflects the real deal and protects your client,” said Pilgrim. “You have to make sure everyone is on the same page. When something comes up later, you want your client to be able to whip out the well-drafted contract to get everyone back on the same page.”

Register for the program here.

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