This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, iPleaders.
If you are reading this, you must be interested in contract drafting & negotiation. I suppose you want to draft better contracts, get better at negotiating and develop a strategic understanding of contract enforcement, and what it takes to enforce high stakes contracts in India.
That’s great, because it is one of our favourites, too. Contract drafting is literally the most important legal skill out there, and negotiation is the skill for which you will get paid top money. These skills are so useful that not only lawyers but even non-lawyers benefit tremendously if they cultivate these abilities.
Not being good at contract drafting is not even an option.
If you want to be a successful in-house counsel, and land and hold down a job with a top-notch company with lots of growth opportunities, you better be damn good at drafting a range of contracts.
If you are going to work in a law firm, you will probably be drafting or doing due diligence for high value, specialized contracts all the time.
If you are a director or senior executive in a company, knowing how to negotiate contracts is going to give you a lot of leverage and earn you respect.
Even if you begin to practice in the court of law, contract drafting gives you an opportunity to develop a clientele, and earn a decent sum while you are working for a pittance at the court trying to build up a name.
If you are not good at drafting contracts, as a lawyer, you will be judged and considered sub-par. That’s how it is. Contract drafting and negotiation is a basic, essential and must have skill for every lawyer. If you are looking to have an outstanding career in law or business, it can be the great differentiator and your ticket to the big league.
However, how do you get good at it? That’s a tough one because in college they barely scratch the surface. 5 years, and you learn very little about drafting contracts.
Are you going to learn this at internships? Well, that’s not going to happen. Internships are too short and unstructured, to really learn a complex skill like contract drafting to the extent that you need to learn.
Let’s say your company’s managing director wants to take a loan from the company. Do you know what kind of agreement should be put in place for this? How about how to handle related party transactions and the exact steps involved? How would that influence the language of the contract? Do you need to register it? How much stamp duty do you need to pay on it?
Let’s say your friend is entering into a software development agreement with a very talented developer in another country. He will be paying some advance. He wants you to make sure that there is a watertight contract that ensures that the product will be developed as per schedule and quality expected. Where would you start? How will you negotiate? What should be there in the dispute resolution clause? How will you execute this cross-border agreement and ensure that there is a valid execution?
We researched long and hard to understand the most common tasks lawyers deal with and common challenges they face with respect to contracts. We even identified 100 most frequently used commercial contracts that we are going to teach. You can see the list here.
We spoke to seasoned directors, law firm partners, in-house counsels, litigators who act for largest corporations in India, retired judges, promoters of large privately held companies and asked them about what we should teach in a comprehensive course on contract law.
We tested out the ideas generated through contract drafting marathons and workshops. After research that went on for years, we launched a 50 week program dedicated to teaching contract drafting and negotiation.
But before we tell you more about contracts and what you need to learn, let me share with you some very valuable resources that you are going to appreciate. At iPleaders blog, we have published hundreds of articles on contract drafting and our students keep writing new ones, breaking new grounds. There are literally thousands of articles accessible to you, all for free.
Here are a few articles that may get you started:
- 5 things to keep in mind when you draft your first contract
- How to improve your contract drafting skills
- How to practice contract drafting at home (comes with a sample exercise)
- All you need to know about contract management
- How to vet a contract
- Basic things about contracts that every Indian should know (lawyers learn these in law school)
- Understand forward contracts
- Can an oral agreement be enforced?
I have a lot more I could share, but let’s not overwhelm you right at the beginning, right?
These are just articles from our blog. Some of these are written by our alumni as a part of coursework.
I am also sharing a bunch of videos and course material from our very popular contract drafting course as sample material from the course itself, absolutely FREE. The course is taken by corporate lawyers, in-house lawyers, practising advocates trying to expand their practices, CEOs, COOs and directors of SMEs and big corporations alike, or just law students trying to expand their horizon and land a better job. They find tremendous value in it, so I am sure you will find it useful and valuable too.
You can watch this playlist to get a glimpse of the kind of stuff you have to learn.
Here are a few webcasts around contract we thought you’d be interested in:
- Shwetank Chaubey, Khaitan & Co. – How to Prepare for the Initial Years of Corporate Life
- Divya Mehta, Legal Casa – What Do Recruiters Look for While Recruiting for Law Firms
- Pranay Jain, lawyer and international business negotiator: The Art of Negotiation
We regularly have live webcasts on YouTube called An Hour With LawSikho. Industry insiders come and discuss their experiences in the legal industry. If you are interested in watching, do drop by our YouTube channel.
Next, we will tell you about how to make a career and what are the hottest upcoming opportunities. We will tell you what kind of contract related work lawyers do and what struggles they face in the next article. After all, the well prepared always wins. We will prepare you for the best and the worst, so do not miss tomorrow’s article.
We will also be glad to receive your feedback on the content and articles that we shall be sharing in the next few days. Please give your unabashed, raw feedback. Reply to the emails and it will reach us. If you think the material is useless, or substandard, just tell us.
If you want to schedule a consultation call with our experts about how our courses will help you take your career to the next level, you can hit reply and let us know. We will schedule a call for you according to your and the expert’s availability.
My suggestion is that you think of specific results that you want to achieve in your future and focus on how to achieve those results during the consultation for best results. You will also have the opportunity to explore how the online courses offered by LawSikho will help you advance in your career.
At LawSikho, our goal is to create a new generation of extraordinary lawyers. Contract drafting and allied skills are critical. Since you are interested in developing top-notch legal skills, you are welcome to the LawSikho community of lawyers and professionals striving to achieve legal excellence. Please join our mailing list so that we can keep in touch.