Jun 2, 2016

TyLegal - Read the contract before signing

It is common knowledge that people hardly read all those ‘terms and conditions’ before clicking ‘I agree’ when buying an app online or something of the sort. Or sometimes, a person just slips a piece of paper with different write-ups and asks you to sign it. Many of us go right ahead to sign without reading its contents...

This is not very advisable as most contracts contain information or clauses that should be read and understood before signing.

There is this story making the rounds about an artiste who entered into an agreement with a record label, where the record label gets 70% of proceeds while the artiste is left with 30 %. The first thing that popped into my mind was why any lawyer would advise his/her client to sign such ridiculous terms. Classic case of ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop.’ It doesn’t matter if that is what is prevalent in that sector, life is all about negotiations and setting new precedents.

It is hardly a good idea to sign any contract without getting a lawyer to read through, particularly the small prints and legal jargons that may be included in it. There are different clauses to look out for in a contract to be certain that it is in your favour or at the very least, that it suits both parties.
Even when making a gentleman’s agreement, one should remember that not every self-acclaimed gentleman is actually a gentleman.

My people, please always read any document before appending your signature. More importantly, get your lawyer to read it and explain the terms of the contract to you in clear terms. It is one of the reasons they went to law school, lawyers are trained to see and interpret things you might omit or not understand. Many lawyers are trained negotiators and can get you very good deals without signing away your birthright. 

Always remember this; the words embedded in a contract are not for decoration. They actually mean something and it is best to know what they mean before signing it, to avoid stories that touch the heart.

Shouting it from the rooftops…read that contract before signing!

Ed's Note - This article was originally published here