A contract in District of Columbia is an agreement about something of value between two or more parties who intend the agreement to have legal effect. It may be oral or written, as long as all parties agree to the contractual terms. Businesses most often prefer the reliability of written contracts in their transactions. These instruments are best written by those with an expertise of the law, since the intent behind a contract is to give it legal effect.

Negotiating a Contract in Washington

Negotiation of each particular term in a contract is important to ensure that the intent of each party is met. Also, there are certain clauses that should be included in every Washington contract to give it the desired legal effect. Stating your intentions clearly at the beginning of negotiations is helpful, since then the parties may carefully detail the obligations and duties of the contract based on mutual expectations. Also, you may want to negotiate a process that can be followed should one party not fulfill its end of the contract.

Using a Form Contract

Using a form contract as a baseline for your agreement may save you time. Lawyers practicing District of Columbia law in Washington can be helpful in selecting the right form, and can also revise the contract to make it the best fit for your distinct situation. Using a form contract without the advice of an attorney may pose problems. First, parties using form contracts often do not read all the clauses, and can therefore be unaware of their obligations under the contract. Second, form contracts often use words and language understood only within the legal community. This may cause parties to agree to a clause they don't really understand. Lawyers can help ensure that a written contract matches the intent of the parties, whether negotiating a contract or using a form. District of Columbia contract law is a field in which many Washington lawyers have specialized.