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This article is written by Advocate Navya Prathipati and edited by Vanshika Kapoor. This article will cover all the details regarding contract drafting, its importance, skills required, opportunities in contract drafting, and FAQs that law students, young lawyers, and practitioners should know about contract drafting. 

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Wondering how drafting itself can be a career opportunity? Yes, we are not talking just about drafting, but contract drafting. It might be an understatement to mention that contract drafting is, or can be, a new gig for 21st-century legal professionals. However, we do not mean that it cannot be a promising career option. So, what exactly is this contract drafting? To know more, keep reading. Until today, you might have already heard enough about the importance of drafting in the legal profession. If not, let us recall you. Do you remember your professor’s distinct instructions on drafting skills or the task of proofreading contracts assigned by law firms during internships? How did seniors emphasise the importance of error-free and impressive drafting of affidavits or petitions? And the laborious work that you invested in drafting an agreement during corporate internships? In this way, you might have been informed enough about the significance of drafting, which might have imbibed in your subconscious memory for sure. However, what if we tell you that most people fail to understand the real scope and depth of drafting in the legal field? Interesting right!? This article is specifically curated to provide all the necessary information concerning contract drafting in the legal profession for all legal enthusiasts. 

Law students presume that drafting is part of advocacy, and young lawyers strive hard to draft those kinds of court affidavits or petitions that impress the judge. But what if we tell you that drafting is way beyond that? With the help of a skill like contract drafting, a young lawyer can become financially independent and survive litigation without much worry; similarly, a law student can earn pocket money or save up for further education. It can be a good source of income for practising lawyers, too. As it is said, legal drafting is a skill, so why not utilize it to its fullest potential? Contract drafting is one of the essential skills that every lawyer and law student should be trained in. It can also be a lucrative career option for every lawyer and law student.  While your law college or university and seniors neglected to inform and teach you about contract drafting, we are here with this article to give all law students, lawyers or advocates, law professionals, and legal enthusiasts an overall understanding of contract drafting and career scope in a particular sector. You can find all the necessary information concerning contract drafting in this article. Without further ado, read further. 

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All about contract drafting 

Agreements form the basis of any relationships or transactions that take place across the globe. While regular day-to-day and personal transactions are usually oral in nature, business or finance matters, relations or transactions are written down on paper and executed through contracts. A document that contains or mentions the liabilities and obligations, or terms and conditions (promises exchanged between two or more parties), and clauses such as force majeure, indemnity, guarantee, etc. agreed upon between two or more parties is known as an agreement for contract. Agreements which are enforceable by law become Contracts. All commercial activities depend on and are based on contracts. Disputes arise in breach or violation of contractual clauses, leading to litigation before courts or a resolution by forums. Hence, contracts play a crucial role in commercial transactions or dealings.  Contract Drafting is a process through which agreements or contracts are formed. All the negotiations or discussions between parties are written down in contracts only through contract drafting. 

What is contract drafting

As said earlier, contracts play a crucial role in commercial transactions. Contracts legally bind the parties to an agreement with respect to their rights and liabilities. The essential ingredients of a contract are offer, acceptance, consideration, intention, and capacity. All the ingredients (either in express or implied form) should be fulfilled or complied with in order to form a legally binding contract. 

In India, the Indian Contract Act of 1872 contains the essential elements and definitions of terms that form a contract. Section 10 of the Act mentions all the essential elements of a contract.  The three most basic ones are: offer, acceptance, and consideration.

Differences between drafting an agreement and a contract 

An agreement that is binding and legally enforceable is known as a contract. The relationship between contract and agreement cannot be explained without referring to the statement, ‘All contracts are agreements, but not all agreements are contracts’. A contract and its drafting are not as simple as they seem. Drafting an agreement is different from drafting a contract. Generally, there are agreements that are peremptory; for example: an agreement for sale that expires within a period of three years. These agreements contain terms and conditions subject to ancillary/consequential events. A contract legally binds the parties to all obligations and liabilities enshrined in the document. Therefore, a contract has to be drafted carefully by defining the rights and obligations clearly as they bind the parties. 

The process of creating a legally binding agreement can be called contract drafting. It contains terms and conditions with respect to payment, time, delivery clauses of confidentiality, dispute forums, and others. The process is complex and requires the brainstorming of legal principles and concepts in addition to the requirements of the client.  

Before drafting a contract, a drafter should clearly understand the purpose of the contract and the parties involved. Accordingly, the rights and obligations of each party should be incorporated into the agreement. All the terms should be discussed by the parties before signing the contract. The processes of contract drafting differ depending on the type and purpose of the contract. For example: contract drafting is different in cases such as unilateral and bilateral contracts, trademark agreements, partnership deeds, etc. Contract drafting is a skill, not a mundane task, as it may seem. The expertise and creativity can be expanded to produce the finest quality legal documents. A well-crafted contract prevents future disputes between the parties, which saves time, money, and energy. In addition to the clauses in a contract, the terms related to performance, timelines, and damage calculation have to be taken care of. 

Contract drafting goes beyond typing a few clauses on a piece of paper; it is an interlinkage of purpose, business, legal acumen, and knowledge. It requires an understanding ability along with the appropriate application of law. It is a skill that should be nurtured with experience and expertise. Contract drafting is a skill that every lawyer should possess. Contract drafting can be a career option for legal professionals. It acts as a strategic edge for young lawyers. Every deal or transaction of the corporates and businesses is associated with or evidenced by a contract. Contracts are an indispensable part of the businesses. Today, there is an increasing growth of the business sector in India, which is leading to an increase in the requirement of professionals/experts for drafting, reviewing, and management of contracts for the companies. Hence, it can be observed that even professionals who do not belong to the legal profession are showcasing their learning and doing the work of contract drafting. With the increase in work, there will be more opportunities in the contract drafting sector soon. Hence, learning contract drafting is a kind of investment for the future. 

Importance of contract drafting 

Contracts are an indispensable part of everyday life. Even in day-to-day activity, we enter into various implied contracts, knowingly or unknowingly, such as booking a cab, accessing a website, etc. Hence, basic working knowledge of contracts is a necessity for all, especially the legal fraternity. The legal industry has a lot of work associated with contracts. Contract drafting is one of the most basic and essential skills for lawyers. Individuals from non-legal backgrounds can gain hands-on experience in the legal industry by learning contract drafting. From negotiation of contracts to research and presentation before courts, contract drafting skills are significant for all law students, legal practitioners, business lawyers, contract managers, corporate lawyers, in-house counsel, and legal or financial advisors for the following reasons: 

  • It is an indispensable skill that caters to the needs of a professional for negotiating deals, and others. 
  • A well-drafted contract is significant and also facilitates the companies. 
  • A well-drafted contract prevents future disputes which may arise between the parties by fulfilling the main purpose behind creation or formation of contracts. 
  • It helps to navigate through the contracts and agreements at ease with the knowledge of the basics of drafting and to deepen the understanding of the contracts along with the key provisions. 
  • For legal practitioners, the skill aid in the presentation before courts. It helps to put forward all the facts correctly and accurately through a well-drafted document. Even in oral arguments or presentations concerning a contractual case, an advocate can gain good grip on the important points, defects and clauses in a contract. 

What are the skills required for contract drafting 

Contract drafting skills are the need of the hour for today’s lawyers. There are growing requirements and opportunities in the contract drafting field. Nonetheless, language proficiency and typing speed would not be sufficient to ace the skill of contract drafting. Expertise in contract drafting can only be achieved with experience and time, but efficiency and skills should be learned in the initial years of the profession, especially for legal professionals. Non-lawyers can ace the skills first by learning and putting in thorough practice. In this section, a brief overview of the skills that are required for contract drafting is given below. This list is inclusive and not exhaustive. 

Clarity and precision 

Clarity of thought and the ability to express it precisely are the foremost qualities that a legal profession requires. It not only applies to advocacy skills before a court of law but to every aspect of the legal profession. Contract drafting, especially commercial contracts, requires the utmost diligence and caution, as the deals among companies are watertight and involve billions of dollars. Clauses of a commercial contract impact several parties involved in the contract. Hence, a drafter should be able to understand the purpose and transactions involved in the contract. With such clarity, all the clauses, terms, and conditions of a contract have to be drafted precisely to fulfil the needs of the parties involved. A right balance of mind and action is one of the best practices for achieving clarity and precision. Only with sufficient practice and experience can the clarity and precision required for drafting be achieved. 

Knowledge of law 

A knowledge of law differentiates a typist from a lawyer or legal professional. A typist simply types down all the terms and conditions as per client requirements on stamp paper without any legal thought. However, when a lawyer drafts a contract, it has to be within the limits of the law and meet all the legal requirements. The contracts are drafted in compliance with the law and with utmost due diligence. A synthesis of law and parties’ requirements has to be met consistently. Contracts are legal documents that are used to inform, instruct, and advocate for the rights and liabilities of parties. Knowledge of particular laws required depending on the type of contract is essential. Any kind of error in drafting a contract as per the law jeopardizes the parties, leading to litigation. Hence, adequate knowledge of the law is not only a skill but also a compulsory requirement. 

You might have doubted why knowledge of the law is considered a skill, especially for the purposes of contract drafting. Let me explain: having basic knowledge of law only aids in drafting a contract with basic elements. However, the more depth and grasp of the law, the better it helps lawyers to advise clients on the clauses that can be incorporated, which will be beneficial to the client. Impressive and satisfactory clients bring in more work. This way, through this skill, one can become more successful in comparison to others. Knowledge and the proper application of the law at the right time are crucial for contract drafting. 

Negotiation skills 

Negotiation and contract drafting skills go hand-in-hand. It is one of the crucial skills that has to be equipped and nurtured through practice. Before concluding a contract, certain deals and terms are negotiated by the parties. The consensus between parties can be obtained only through negotiation. A negotiation requires effective communication, understanding, and knowledge of human psychology. Lawyers participate in such negotiations, and sometimes only the parties’ lawyers are involved. Effective negotiation skills result in mutual benefit and win-win situations, risk management, and strengthening relations. Both parties discuss at length their rights, obligations, etc. to get the best deal. A lawyer has to negotiate to bring in the best deal in the interests of the client. Hence, negotiation skills are essential for contract drafting purposes. The important clauses that are in the client’s best interests can be incorporated into the contract only through contract drafting.  

Contract negotiation needs certain qualities, like foreseeing the long-term goals of a project, building trust, conducting deep analysis and understanding of the issues involved, and finally arriving at a finish line with a desired price. A contract negotiation strategy is essential to a  successful deal. Learning from the courses and continuous practice or involvement in the practical sessions will help to improve the skills. 

Analytical skills 

Analytical ability is another skill required for a lawyer. When a client approaches you with a problem and certain requirements, analytical skills are the foremost ability that comes into play. Given the facts, law, and parties’ negotiations, a solution in the form of a contract can only be drawn from the analysis. Analytical skills pave the way for good contract drafting with clarity and precision. Hence, an individual should develop analytical skills. 

In order to develop or improve contract analytics, a strong understanding of the fundamentals, such as types and structures of contracts, risks and issues, etc., is important. Familiarity with legal, industry, and regulatory frameworks is also crucial. All these basics can be learned through books, webinars, podcasts, and online courses. After learning the basics, the practical application of skills on real-time contracts helps to deepen the knowledge. Experiences enhance expertise and skills. The guidance of mentors would add value to the learning of skills like contract analytics. 

Language and editing skills 

Language is an important component of contract drafting. The use of metaphors and idioms is not suggested or preferred in the contracts. The language used for contract drafting should be simple, without the use of technical words or perfect grammar. Other than that, there is no requirement to use typical English terminology in contracts. The language of contracts should be simple and easily understood by the parties. Technical terms should be used with care and caution. Once the contract is finalised, proofreading must be done to identify any mistakes. Therefore, language editing skills are also important. 

Tips to improve the skills 

Contract drafting requires a myriad of skills, as explained above. A candidate can improve their  skills only through consistent practice and understanding of the law. Each skill required for contract drafting has to be nurtured and developed by an individual. In addition to the enhancement of skills, their proper application in practice is also crucial. A few tips that help to improve the skills for contract drafting are: 

  • Contract Law: Strong basics and sound knowledge of contract law are crucial and fundamental for the contract drafting learning process. Staying updated on the latest legal amendments will be an added advantage. 
  • Study of Contracts: Practical exposure or working knowledge of real-time contracts, including the structure and language of the clauses, is important. 
  • The language of the contracts should be improved by regular practice and analysing the standard contracts being used or circulated in the practice. 
  • Critical analysis of the purpose of the contract helps identify potential legal issues and address them by incorporating suitable clauses in the contract to prevent future disputes. 
  • Being specific and precise on the terms will ultimately enhance the skill and gain expertise on the topic. 

These tips would help to improve the clarity, conciseness, and effectiveness of the contracts.  

What are the know and how’s of contract drafting 

Though contract drafting is a complex process, having the basics right decreases the pressure of delivering fine contracts. Before you become skilled at contract drafting, certain essential aspects have to be known and learned before dwelling on contract drafting. An indicative list of the know-how of contract drafting is provided in this section. 

Some of the fundamental aspects one should know for purposes of contract drafting are: 

  • Obtaining all the information from the client and organizing or arranging such information in chronological order. 

Collecting the facts and getting information from the client, such as names of parties, addresses, requirement details, etc., is the first step. 

  • A checklist of important clauses and essential things related to commercial contracts:

After analysing the information gathered, the scope of the contract and goods or services need to be ascertained. 

  • To conduct negotiations and risk analysis of high-value contracts

After necessary consultations, discussions, and negotiations, the terms and conditions need to be written down, including price, payment method, conditions, warranties, and others. 

  • Knowledge about standard clauses and calculation of damages for contractual breaches:

After the inclusion of significant clauses based on the requirements of contracts, the standard clauses concerning dispute resolution have to be incorporated. The arbitration or mediation clauses and jurisdiction of courts are to be included. 

  • To read and proofread the contract: 

This is one of the most significant but often neglected parts of contract drafting. It includes checking the draft contract in compliance with the law. Sometimes even well-crafted contracts are held invalid by the courts. The reason is non-compliance with the law. The relevant laws applicable to the contract, for example: IP law, consumer protection, etc., should be complied with. If you are not a lawyer, then seeking legal advice on the drafted contract is advisable. In the stage of proofreading, any jargon or typical terms used should also be removed because the language of contracts should be simple and clear. 

  • Stamp duty payable and registration requirements for successful execution of contracts: After review of the contract, the final copy of the contract, which is free of omissions and errors, should be executed with all the legal requirements of registration and stamp duty.  
  • Unambiguous drafting of the contract with all the basic elements is key. 

The final object of drafting an agreement is that the client should be able to understand the use and purpose of each clause incorporated in the contract. The effects of each clause should also be known. Practical training from experts is a must to learn how to conduct the aspects given in the above checklist. To learn more about contract drafting, click here. 

Contract drafting and the legal profession 

Drafting is one of the basic skills expected from a lawyer, irrespective of their area of specialization. The rapid growth of businesses and corporations led to the creation of more contracts. The advancements equally apply to the legal industry, which changes and adapts to changing times. Hence, the scope of drafting expanded beyond legal documents such as affidavits, petitions, etc. With the increasing significance of the contract, even individuals are prepared to agree with the conclusion of a transaction, for example: rent agreements, partnership deeds, and others. The work of contract drafting is spread across diverse roles that lawyers play at different organizations. 

Contract drafting is indispensable for the legal profession. Can you even imagine the profession of law without drafting? However, as stated earlier, let us focus on the role of contract drafting apart from the drafting of pleadings, which has more to do with courtrooms. The amount of contract drafting work that lawyers deal with in various roles is explained in this section. Let us observe the various roles of contract drafting. 

Corporate law firms 

Firstly, let’s begin with the world’s favourite subject for young lawyers: corporate law. Almost every law student aspires to become a corporate lawyer after graduation. The race of Tier-1, Tier-2 and Tier-3 corporate firms is unending. So what exactly is the work of corporate lawyers? No, do not go back to the famous legal drama show ‘Suits’ and Harvey Spector’s deals from the show. Of course, deals and negotiations are significant parts of corporate transactions. However, contracts and agreements form the heart and soul of the corporate world because any and every deal can be enforced only through contracts. 

Corporate law is the lighting guide for a corporate lawyer. In addition to the compliances specified for companies under various commercial and corporate laws, every contract entered into by a corporation or company shall comply with them. From board meetings to stock market listings, things require due compliance. How diligently and smartly a lawyer verifies and drafts a contract is a skill in and of itself.  During events like mergers and acquisitions, the significance of contracts cannot be overemphasised enough. One small error or mistake in the contract may cost the company billions of dollars. Hence, these contracts have to be drafted meticulously without any loopholes. Some of the major responsibilities of a corporate lawyer are compliance of transactions with corporate law, due diligence of agreements/contracts, research or negotiation, and drafting of contracts. 

As it is said, “a stitch in time saves nine.” Hence, companies hire top-tier law firms to draft their watertight contracts to avoid any future complexities or liabilities that might arise out of the contracts by their competitors or any third party.  Companies invest or incur a  huge sum for each crafted document that fulfils their requirements. Due to this reason, an associate gets a higher salary for a month from a desk job, unlike a litigation payscale. Nonetheless, it is not an easy job as it requires a lot of focus and drafting skills to draft such watertight contracts. Hence, law firms hire candidates who can understand and draft contracts as per requirements. In addition to knowledge of corporate law, fixtures, and deals, a lawyer should know how to put all those oral agreements on paper in the form of a contract for the benefit of the company. So, a  majority of corporate lawyers’ work involves contract drafting, which includes the work of leading law firms. Remember, the popular career option for law graduates has a lot to do with contract drafting. In fact, the contract drafting skills can help law students or law graduates get their dream corporate jobs in top-tier firms. 

The career opportunities in this field that a law student or lawyer can opt for are: joining as an associate in Tier-1 firms such as Shardul Amarchand and Mangaldas, Trilegal, AZB & Partners, J Sagar and Associates, Samvad Partners, Bharucha & Partners, Kochhar & Co and ALMT Legal. One can also find roles in asset management companies, stock exchange brokers, national stock exchange offices, etc. To learn more about a career in corporate law, click here. 

In-house counsels   

An in-house counsel’s work majorly includes contract drafting and contract management. They spend hours of time drafting and reviewing the company’s contracts with various stakeholders. Contract management is the primary responsibility of an in-house counsel. Without proper knowledge about contracts, agreements, and clauses, an in-house counsel faces a tough time while dealing with such a huge number of contracts. Some of the major responsibilities of in-house counsel include negotiating, drafting, and reviewing the commercial contracts of the company, providing advice, and ensuring compliance with relevant rules and regulations. 

Contract drafting is one of the most time-consuming tasks for an in-house counsel. It is never going to be fun to draft a contract without knowing standard clauses, templates, guides, checklists, and knowledge on warranties, rights, conditions, representations, remedy provisions, etc. Hence, contract drafting and contract review become fundamental skills for an in-house counsel. Contract drafting skills can help an in-house counsel scale up their ladder in promotions, and improvised performance would definitely incentivise them in the long run of their professional career. 

An in-house counsel role is another flexible option available for corporate law enthusiasts. Some of the career opportunities in this field are: working with Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under central and state governments such as HPCL, NTPC, etc. as law officers; and working as in-house counsel at various private companies in different business verticals like insurance, hospitals, banks, and technology industries based on availability and choice. Examples of companies are Reliance, TATA, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Oriental Insurance Company, and so on. In almost every government and private company, there is a need for in-house law departments and lawyers. Based on the interest, one can apply. To succeed as an in-house counsel, working knowledge of the business industry is essential. 

You can refer to Lawsikho’s article on in-house counsel roles in detail here. 

Litigation and service law firms  

You might be surprised why separate sections are made for corporate law firms and litigation or service law firms. The main purpose is to explain the differences and highlight the key points of the functioning of different firms. Even in litigation and full-service law firms, drafting plays a key role. While a corporate lawyer has a desk job with casual visits to clients’ offices, in-service and litigation firms, court visits are regular chores. Though the amount of drafting work is almost the same, the kind of drafting differs. The corporate law firm specialises in corporate law and works in contracts relating to mergers and acquisitions, ventures, funding, etc. The types, nature, kind, and requirements of contracts vary depending on the parties. For example: in commercial contracts, the parties involved are artificial entities, i.e., companies and businesses. The difference between corporate firms and litigation or service law firms is that while corporate law firms exclusively deal with corporate law, the other firms deal with cases of varied laws other than or in addition to corporate law. Some of the major responsibilities of a litigation lawyer are: critically reviewing agreements or contracts; drafting agreements; court pleadings; and appearing before the court. In the initial few years, juniors will be assigned only the drafting work. 

Litigation or full-service firms deal with different areas of law, such as employment law, bankruptcy law, real estate, and others. For example: an employment contract vastly differs from an M&A agreement. As these firms are involved in litigation before courts, that knowledge helps them draft clauses that possibly avoid conflicts. So, even the litigation and full-service laws raise revenues from contract drafting in addition to the litigation cases. The contract drafting skill knowledge helps the associates interpret the contracts involved in the disputes appropriately and formulate the strategy or arguments for the cases. 

The career opportunities in this segment are similar to those in corporate law, i.e., joining law firms that deal with litigation. There are full-service or dispute resolution firms such as Karanjawala & Co, Samvad Partners, etc. The pay in these firms is comparatively less compared to that of corporate firms. On the litigation side, a few boutique firms specialise in laws such as IPR, shipping, employment law, tribunal practice (DRT or NCLT), and others. Joining these firms is another strategic career opportunity. However, candidates who are genuinely interested in the specific areas of law should join boutique law firms, as specialising in the practice area is an important aspect that requires consideration. 

Chambers and independent practitioners 

The disputes dealt with by chamber practitioners are centred around contracts. It is crucial for lawyers to be able to understand and ascertain each of the clauses in a contract. Knowing the purpose and functioning of contract drafting aids in giving the best interpretation before a court of law. Even traditional practice areas such as land laws and partnership deeds, which involve contracts like sale deeds, require interpretation and intention of the terms incorporated. Hence, overall, contract drafting assists practitioners in all areas of law or specialization except criminal law. 

Lawyers who aspire to become independent practitioners or litigators can benefit from contract drafting in two ways: 

  • First, through contract drafting, lawyers can build financial backup without waiting for years to gain stability in their practice. 
  • Second, the drafting skills developed through contract drafting help in drafting the finest court pleadings. It helps both in written and oral presentations before the court of law. Contract drafting helps to strengthen the financial aspect of the law practice, at least to pay bills for the office during the first initial phases or years of the litigation struggles. It also helps to build reputation and credibility in the profession. During your earlier practice, clients might be reluctant to hand over cases. Hence, by drafting high-quality contracts and showcasing your lawyering skills, you can gain the confidence of clients. 

Joining the chambers of a senior advocate or starting an independent law practice are the conventional career paths that a litigation enthusiast can opt for. Depending on one’s ability and convenience, one can choose the courts to practice in, such as a district court, a high court, or the Supreme Court. If you are equipped with drafting skills and have expert knowledge of corporate, act as a corporate consultant for national or international projects on a freelance basis. Practising commercial litigation before forums such as the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is another lucrative career option. 

How can contract drafting skills help a legal professional 

If you vouch for old school and believe in the traditional advocacy role contract, we would say contract drafting is essential. You might want to become a good counsel and earn money through advocacy skills, but it is not going to happen in a day or so; it requires years of patience and determination. Sometimes, only one can land in such a desired position. Still keeping your dreams alive, you work under a busy lawyer, usually making adjournments or taking the next dates for cases. Suppose, if you are skilled at contract drafting, you can get an opportunity to work with a busy lawyer for decent pay. In addition to the financial benefits, you can also build your reputation and credibility. 

Writing is one of the most underrated career prospects in the legal field. The growth of digital content expanded the scope for writers. Today, it has become the norm for every lawyer to author articles on legal topics for publications to promote their name. If you are an individual who has a passion for writing, then writing articles on legal topics can be a desired option. Along with passion, it can be an extra source of income to pay bills. Writing is not an easy task and requires skill. A contract drafting expert can easily be involved in writing because of the other ancillary skills developed during the course. The right use of words, knowledge about the audience and topic, and simple language are some of the crucial elements required for a writer. These skills can be learned through contract drafting. 

Why do contract drafting skills matter  

Why do contract drafting skills matter? A genuine answer would be to gain expertise and reap the benefits of it. Everyone knows that drafting is an indispensable part of advocacy. However, it is one of the most satisfactory ways for legal professionals to earn money. With the right amount of knowledge and practice, a lawyer or law firm can raise revenues through contract drafting. Contract drafting is equally part of the legal profession, which can be relied upon for a decent income. It is a skill that every legal professional should learn, despite their area of practice. With evolving times, India is on the list of the top five emerging economies that will have exponential growth in the coming days. To cope with such an emerging market and in a field like law, which is equally competitive, having hands-on experience with present and future trends is crucial. Contract drafting is one such skill that must be learned by all legal professionals. 

How can law students and budding lawyers benefit from contract drafting 

Law students and budding lawyers can get the utmost benefit in terms of financial and professional growth. Young lawyers who struggle to establish themselves in the profession hardly get the opportunity to deal with the big cases to which they aspire. Salaries paid by seniors will hardly be sufficient for daily essentials. It requires a lot of time and patience to gain credibility and money in litigation. Hence, contract drafting can be an alternative source of income for young lawyers. In addition to paying bills, expertise and experience in drafting aid in professional practice. One can kickstart the independent practice by starting with contract drafting. Once you get a good one among the businesses’ circle for the services, the cases will automatically be entrusted to you. This way, in numerous ways, a law graduate or young lawyer can benefit from contract drafting skills. 

Importance of contract drafting and its practical applications 

As already said above, drafting has always been taught as part of advocacy skills. If you want to know how contract drafting skills are still relevant and significant, leaving everything aside, in simple and practical terms, let us explain to you the relevancy and importance of contract drafting. 

Have you come across this situation at any time when a neighbour, friend, or family member sends an agreement and keeps asking questions about the terms and conditions? Or ask to draft a promissory note? It happens almost every time for all lawyers, especially in social interactions. Or consider the possibility that your senior has given you a case where a contract dispute is at issue. Usually, the documents involved in these transactions are promissory notes, land purchase and rent agreements, and others. Even the cases that you aspire to argue before court arise from a simple contract. In all these situations, knowledge of the law itself is not the only solution. It requires skill to understand the terms of a contract. So, without learning about contract drafting, it is tough to get established in the legal profession, especially in the civil and commercial areas of practice. It is also detrimental to the clients.

Contract drafting skills enhance all other essential skills, as explained above. Harnessing these skills helps even young lawyers earn a reliable income source. Young graduates who want to succeed as arguing counsel have trouble due to the lower pay. You need not wait for years, struggling financially, physically, and emotionally, waiting for that day to attain the advocacy skills to charge lakhs for a hearing before the court of law. Unlike litigation, the time and effort that you put into contract drafting results are consistent with the results and outcome. 

In this way, a lawyer tremendously benefits in most fields. Drafting and negotiation are skills that every lawyer should imbibe. These are also valuable skills that provide opportunities across various fields of law. To know more about contract drafting and its uses in the law profession, click here

Career prospects and opportunities in contract drafting 

The career scope and opportunities in contract drafting are ample and ever-expanding. Some of the career options or opportunities in contract drafting are given below for a better understanding. 

Law students and young law graduates

Law students and young law graduates can benefit most from contract drafting skills. Contract drafting skill that helps law students or graduates achieve the dream job of working with top-tier law firms. The main qualifications that law firms require from associates are writing and research skills. So, a diploma or a course in contract drafting will add value to your CV. There are endless opportunities for law students with the skill of contract drafting. So, every law student should learn contract drafting skills as early as possible. Law students shall be equipped, at least, with the basics of contract drafting before graduation. 


Freelancing is the gig of today’s modern job market. Once in a while, everyone should or might have done freelancing to earn an extra penny. Freelancing provides lucrative opportunities for contract drafting. As a freelancer, you will be required to complete a project by drafting a contract, providing a review of an agreement, etc. It also provides you with working knowledge of all the rights and clauses of an agreement. Anyone new to contract drafting can start with freelancing. Commercial agreements can be drafted for MSME on a freelance basis. For a commercial contract, the charge is easily Rs. 10,000. If it is freelancing from platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork, the pay is on an hourly basis, ranging between INR 500-1500 depending on the quality and reviews of the work. If you want more work, then initially the price can be reduced to increase the flow of work. Once the clients are satisfied with your work and you have more experience, you can gradually raise the price. 

You can create a free account and set up your profile on freelancing websites to begin your freelance journey. 

Snippets of a few such works are provided below for better illustration: 

                            Image 1: (source)

This is one of the works for the drafting of a commercial contract concerning the real estate business. The basic knowledge of commercial contracts, along with the basics of the business sector, i.e., real estate and the process of leasing, Similarly, you can find contract drafting work related to employment law and others such as Employment agreements, service agreements, etc. Knowledge and strong fundamentals of contract drafting are required to take on this type of drafting work. 

Image 2: (source)

Similarly, one creates a profile on the freelancing websites, mentioning your skills and services. The service price can be quoted as per the prevailing market prices. Ratings on the platform are what determine your reputation. Remember, before marketing professional services, an individual must be strong on the basics along with knowledge of the work. For contract drafting, in addition to expertise in law, knowledge about the industry, market dynamics, etc. should also be acquired.  

           Image 3: (source)

Image 4: (remote) 

In the above images 3 and 4, the freelance work is related to purely contract drafting. In the above two projects, in addition to the basics of law, a working/practical knowledge about the contract is needed. NDA agreements are one of the simplest forms of contracts; however, mere theoretical knowledge would not be sufficient. Knowledge about the basic structure and important clauses pertaining to the contracts is important. If you are a specialist lawyer, such as a corporate lawyer, then work associated with a particular law, i.e., venture capital, can be taken up. These are a few opportunities that a lawyer who gains expertise in drafting can get work done online. A decent amount of income can be earned by sitting in a home or office and utilizing your drafting skills. 

Similarly, a small section of people, such as web developers, graphic designers, etc., need a lawyer to deal with their contracts and usually have low budgets. If you could draft a contract that fulfils their requirements within a reasonable budget, then the companies would keep queuing for you. Similarly, government contractors and start-ups are the best examples. These are the types of clients not properly sourced by law firms and busy lawyers due to their poor budgets to pay for the services. But this category of clients requires legal services.  So, able and trained law students (in contract drafting), young lawyers, and independent practitioners can provide services to clients through these websites. Anyone can start a freelance business, whether they are a legal professional or a young law graduate. 

Advocates and legal practitioners 

Contract drafting can help legal practitioners immensely, especially young to mid-level practitioners who are in the process of building a stable legal practice. Firstly, by taking up the contract drafting work, it increases the outreach to potential clients. Secondly, one can earn a decent amount of income to sustain the practice. The work can be obtained directly from individual or company clients. In addition, young practitioners can freelance their work to the necessary clients, both on online platforms and offline. Contract drafting work can be an additional fund source for litigators. In the long term, the skill would reward the litigator for dealing with court cases. 

Senior advocates’ offices look for or hire a junior or an associate advocate for purposes of doing their drafting work or consultancy work with respect to contract drafting or contract review. In case, an advocate could not succeed in litigation practice, then shifting to a law firm would be easy, as banking and corporate firms require candidates who can handle contracts from negotiation, drafting, and final delivery. At this juncture, having a certification or a diploma in contract drafting would benefit the individual in the long term. Read here to learn more about diploma courses on contract drafting by LawSikho. Always remember that learning a course or any skill is never a waste and would benefit you in uncountable ways. 

Corporate lawyers and corporate law enthusiasts 

If you have a profound interest in corporate law or have previously worked with a corporate law firm, then you can kick-start your independent practice or law firm business through contract drafting. You cannot expect crores of deals to get assigned to your firm from the start. However, there are fascinating areas, for example: shareholders’ agreements (SHA). SHAs are one of the good areas for earning potential. The shareholder’s agreement has certain rules and establishes relations between the company and the shareholders. The majority of law firm partners raise revenue for the firm through SHA-related work. In addition to due diligence and compliance, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), venture capital, and private equity include SHA and share subscription and purchase agreements (SSPA) drafting. 

With a growing economy, there is an increase in the number of companies in the form of start-ups or MSMEs. These businesses or companies have minimum budgets but the same legal requirements as the big corporations. Individual lawyers and legal practitioners can take part in these small deals and earn a good amount of money that contributes to the practice. They can start working on drafting the SHA for start-up companies because usually the shareholder’s agreement work related to angel and seed investment rounds is not taken up by the big firms due to their billing hours policies. So, young corporate lawyers can avail themselves of this opportunity and get the work of SHA drafting done by quoting a lesser price prevailing in the market. This helps in the increase of workflow initially. If you are a law student, qualified lawyer, or CA or CS, and seek to extend your financial source, without further delay, you should check courses on contract drafting.

Scope of work in contract drafting for Indians in other countries 

The scope of contract drafting is vast, and Indian lawyers can be involved in international work too. Getting work or doing work for clients in other countries involves a lot of hustle. However, it is completely possible with the right amount of skills and strategy. The results are also appreciable and equally rewarding. The type of drafting work is similar or remains the same, with variations in the kinds of contracts, parties involved, cultures, national laws, and others. The opportunities explained above can also be found in other countries; for example: you can try foreign corporate firms and in-house roles in MNCs. Though there are many methods to obtain work in foreign countries, clarity and strategy are important to excel in the international job market. Networking is the first and most significant method to source the work. It also helps in outreach to potential clients.  


Freelancing is the best opportunity for law students, young lawyers, and independent practitioners in contract drafting at both national and international levels. Many foreign law firms and foreigners hire lawyers from other countries to do their contract drafting. In countries like the USA and the U.K., contracts play a major role because of the advancements both economically and legally. Hence, there is a lot of work. Some individuals, small companies, and businesses take advantage of currency differences and hire lawyers from other countries to do their work. Through this, they benefit in monetary terms. So, associating with foreign clients through freelancing is equally satisfying in terms of work and money. 

Legal outsourcing 

Today, legal process outsourcing (LPO) has grown as an industry itself. The global share of LPO services is estimated to be around  $680-690 billion, among which 60 percent is accounted for in Europe and the United States. This is the demand for legal services prevailing in the markets. Taking profits into consideration, many firms and corporations delegate tasks through LPO. LPO is a process in which a law firm or corporation obtains legal services from outside firms or layers. It helps companies or firms save money and also provides a perfect job environment. One who aspires to start a law firm can make money through contract drafting by outsourcing the drafting work. 

India, a common law country with a huge number of trained, proficient English lawyers, is expected to reach a $11.01 share of the global LPO market by 2025. The majority of work that foreign nations outsource is contract drafting work. Some foreign firms are even providing opportunities for Indian lawyers to work for them on a hybrid basis. 

Drafting of cross-border commercial contracts 

Drafting international contracts is a great and ultimate opportunity that one can aspire to in contract drafting. These contracts have to be drafted considering the trade, commerce, culture, and local practices of the countries. The terminologies and documents used vary from those of regular national transactions. In addition to the boilerplate, standard clauses and other clauses related to jurisdiction, governing law, execution terms, etc. become relevant. In this way, there are many aspects. To learn more about international contracts in detail, click here

In addition to companies, NRIs and foreigners who make investments in India are also involved in commercial transactions. They prefer to hire a lawyer to deal with all the documents. This way, drafting cross-border commercial contracts is one of the opportunities in the international legal market. 

Legal consultations and legal advice 

In addition to drafting, a lawyer with knowledge of international contracts and drafting can provide legal consultation. Legal consultation includes reviewing and conducting due diligence on a contract. A draft contract needs to be reviewed, and any changes can be suggested. Legal consultations and advice can be said to be ancillary work. No special training is required to learn about legal consultation, except for some formal procedures and etiquette. 

Through contract drafting skills, an individual develops a good understanding of contracts. So, advocates can undertake due diligence on contracts that have already been prepared by third parties. You can earn by giving legal advice or consultation without drafting the whole contract. 

Pay and work structure in contract drafting 

One of the best things about contract drafting is that you have the option to work from anywhere. It is not necessary to meet the clients face to face. Depending on the quality and service, the quantity of work will increase. 

Regarding pay, a precise figure cannot be quoted as the price depends on the type of contract. Usually, the figure ranges from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,00,000. An individual lawyer can draft documents for an MSME or start-up with a minimum price of 30,000-40,000. Mid-size or boutique firms charge around 3 to 5 lakhs for a 10-crore corporate deal. Firms that have expertise in investment law charge percentages in the deal. Big law firms charge approximately 30-40 lakhs for negotiations such as shareholders’ agreements (SHA). The price varies depending on the complexity involved. Apart from corporate contracts, an individual lawyer or a small firm can earn enough money by drafting partnership agreements and employment contracts, which might range from Rs. 20,000-50,000 depending on the place of practice. If you undertake work on a freelance basis, then the income can gradually go up to Rs. 1 lakh. Some lawyers earn up to 2 lakhs through remote legal work. However, it entirely depends on the workflow. 

How can Indian lawyers avail international opportunities for contract drafting work

These days, there is an increasing trend for specialization in the legal field. It is considered one of the most effective ways to establish the practice. Similarly, depending on the area of specialization, the drafting work can be taken up. For example: a construction disputes specialist can draft construction contracts such as work contracts, etc. However, there are divergent views on the topic. But when it comes to international law, specialization becomes a necessity. The scope and level of international work differ for each nation. The style and nature of the contract, parties, and purpose of the contract are different. The standard clauses, templates, and adoption of clauses also differ. The international moot court experiences and debates would not be solely sufficient to understand the practical application of international law, especially for purposes of contract drafting. Hence, whoever desires contract drafting at the international level of knowledge should be enhanced with the help of additional courses. Expertise and knowledge are crucial to excelling in international markets. To learn more about Lawsikho’s courses on drafting international contracts, click here

Reaching international markets is not a simple task and involves a lot of hustle. It requires skill, an enormous amount of time, and dedication. The rapid expansion of remote legal work is a boon to young lawyers. 

Role of networking and social media 

The sky is only the limit! The statement is true and aptly applicable to the 21st-century world, which is dominated by technology. Social media expanded beyond the entertainment zone. It has become essential for every professional to be active on platforms like LinkedIn. These are some wonderful platforms through which networking can be done beyond the boundaries. It has been observed that many are availing of job opportunities through these platforms. 

In addition to LinkedIn, freelance work platforms such as Fiverr, Guru, Freelancer, and Upwork connect millions of freelancers and businesses. The postings for legal freelance work can be found on these websites. There is an opportunity for direct work as people from different fields, such as social media experts, developers, etc., connect on the same platform. The platforms are completely legal and facilitate dispute resolution processes and freelancer contracts to ensure safety. Though a lot of work can be found on these websites, depending on your profile’s rating, positive reviews, experience, and skills, the workflow depends. So maintaining an amazing work profile is crucial to getting work from these websites. This way, networking plays a key role in availing opportunities, including in the field of contract drafting. 

How do you learn and improve your drafting skills 

You might be thinking, why should one learn contract drafting, especially when contract law was already taught during a law course? The reason is way beyond the difference between theory and practice. In law schools, all were taught about contract law provisions and more about standard clauses, boiler plates, etc. However,  no one was ever taught about contract drafting or even introduced to it as a prospective career option. If you want to apply your legal theory knowledge directly, then let me tell you, it is not going to work. As explained above, there are several considerations that must be taken care of. To start right and get the utmost benefits of contract drafting, it is advised to learn it from an expert guide. 

To learn more about contract drafting, you can attend Lawsikho’s free online boot camp on opportunities in contract drafting. Along with answering your questions, all the practical aspects relating to contract drafting will be explained in the bootcamp. Stay tuned for the bootcamp on the official website of Lawsikho

If you already have enough knowledge about contract drafting and are seeking opportunities in the field, or if you are a legal professional doing work related to contract drafting,  improving and honing your drafting skills is essential for growth. One of the best ways to improve skills is to pursue courses. You can pursue a diploma or courses related to contract drafting to keep engaged and updated.


All being said, it is significant that all the opportunities and work should be undertaken only with the right skills. Without training and acquiring skills, doing legal work related to contract drafting brings a lot of trouble. The reputation of not only the individual lawyer but the profession itself will be a risk. Hence, only after proper training and experience should one undertake the contract drafting task and explore opportunities. Finally, getting legal work requires business acumen with respect to legal practice in addition to these skills. Once skills are acquired, with the help of legal practice management, a flourishing career can be started. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Is contract drafting a skill? 

Yes, contract drafting is a skill. It is one of the important skill required in the legal profession. There are no prescribed standard methods for drafting except basic rules. With experience and practice the quality of work increases. A skilled drafted will be able to draft a contract that meets the standards and able to fulfil the requirement of clients. Hence, it is called as a skill. In order to excel in the skill, a strong foundation of basics is crucial. 

How can contract drafting be a career option? 

If the same question was asked a decade back then the answer have been different. Today, the increasing growth of businesses and trade opportunities, the answer would definitely be yes. Infact, it will be a forthcoming gig for legal professionals in the 21st century. The contract drafting can be a good freelancing opportunity or a good financial source of stable income for lawyers as well as professionals who do not belong to legal profession. Contract drafting is a skill that, if improved upon and used effectively, can be a good career option. 

What is the difference between drafting and contract drafting?

Contract drafting is a subset of drafting. Drafting involves the preparation of legal documents such as agreements, contract pleadings, and others. Contract drafting is a specialised area of expertise in drafting contracts such as partnership deeds, corporate due diligence reports, shareholder agreements, M&A agreements, and others. Contract drafting can be a major revenue source for young lawyers and practitioners. 

What is the difference between the drafting of an agreement and a contract? 

The key difference between an agreement and a contract is legality. An agreement may or may not have a legal obligation, whereas a contract has a legal obligation. For example: an agreement for sale does not bind the parties for a necessary sale or transfer of ownership, whereas a sale deed transfers ownership and binds the parties. In this case, a sale deed is a contract. Hence, the terms and conditions, clauses, and necessary stipulations should be incorporated based on whether it is an agreement or a contract. 

How much time does it take to draft a single contract? 

The answer to the question depends on the individual’s practice of drafting, awareness of the contract, and type of contract. For example: agreements such as non-disclosure, and employment contracts that have templates and standard clauses take less time—approximately an hour—compared to co-founder’s contracts, which are complex and require time. The more skilled you are, the less time it takes to draft a contract. It is to be kept in mind that the outcome of a contract plays a significant role in addition to time. 

Can I use the templates available online to draft the contracts?

The straight answer is NO. Being a professional, your work demands accuracy and precision. In the majority of cases, the source of online information is not authentic and valid. Hence, do not completely rely on the information available online or accept its authenticity all by yourself. Though the templates available online would give a brief overview, they cannot be the final basis for providing professional services. It is advisable to get a good grip on the basics through courses, as each contract has to be crafted depending on clients’ requirements. 

Is special learning necessary for contract drafting? 

There is no straight-jacket formula to answer the question. While expertise grows through practice and experience, many presume that it’s part of the law degree course and no special training is required for the same. However, most law schools have never taught about contract drafting and its prospects. Hence, it is advisable to take a course to gain enough knowledge and techniques about contract drafting. 

What are the websites that facilitate the drafting work? 

Many websites connect clients and freelancers. Some of the websites and links are provided below: 

Working Nomads: 





Do I need additional qualifications to work internationally as a contract drafting specialist? 

There are no prescribed additional qualifications to become a contract drafting specialist, even to work internationally. However, a basic undergraduate degree with a minimum of experience is essential. Acquiring a professional certification in contract drafting would be beneficial, especially for working with international clients. It adds credibility to the person and also to the work. Basic working knowledge of international expertise would add value. 

What are the challenges that Indian lawyers might face when working internationally in contract drafting? 

Indian lawyers might not face any challenges if they are well-informed and well-prepared about the international set-up. Otherwise, some of the challenges that Indian lawyers might face are: First, the workspace interface, the workplace set-up or the atmosphere in both domestic and international spaces are entirely different. Hence, while dealing with international clients, the differences should be observed and adopted. Secondly, the standard of work. Third, the differences in law and legal procedure. The standard and quality of work varies from each country, especially we can find a huge difference between advanced/developed countries and developing countries. Hence, it is better to research and be equipped with the standard of work and also the laws of the country. Taking courses and sharpening the skills associated with international negotiation and drafting would help to mitigate the challenges. Click here to learn about the courses. 

Are all contract drafting jobs same? 

No, all contract drafting roles are different. The contracts are drafted differently for each role. For example: contracts drafted by a corporate lawyer differ from those of a settlement agreement drafted by a litigator. Similarly, employment agreements, sale deeds, construction contracts, etc. differ from each other. This way, in each set up the requirements, patterns, and clauses change for each role. A contract drafter should be cautious about the role and purpose of the contract.  

What are the trends in international contract drafting, and how can Indian lawyers stay ahead of these trends? 

With the increase in trade, the global intersection became a common thing. The latest trends that are currently prevailing are AI, data privacy, cyber security, and digitisation (e-documents). On this line, trends can be observed in international contract drafting. The inclusion of new clauses in contracts with respect to data privacy, cyber security, and related developments, along with the nation’s policy, shall be noted. The validation and execution of e-contracts is also another trend that is part of growing digitisation. The Indian lawyers need to be updated with the latest policy regulations and laws of the member states concerning the latest developments or trends to stay ahead of the competition and trends. Contracts are time-sensitive. Hence, contract drafting should be in line with the latest trends.


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