If I drew up a contract, how can I make sure that it will legally bind all parties?

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If I drew up a contract, how can I make sure that it will legally bind all parties?

I want to hire a programmer to develop an app for me. I want to know if I can write up a contract with payment arrangements in the contract and that document will be a legal binding document. Meaning that the programmer will get paid the amount in the contract and that he will do the work since that will be in the contract as well. OR do I have to hire a lawyer to write up the contrct?

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Business Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is NOT required that you hire an attorney to write your contract, but it would be advisable to have an attorney write or at least review the contract to be certain that it is correct and that no essential terms have been omitted.

If you write the contract yourself, it should include the following:  names of the parties entering into the contract, subject matter of the contract, amount and terms of payment, the work that is to be done (this would relate to subject matter previously mentioned), time for performance.  You might also want to include a noncompetitive clause.  You might also want to include language regarding proprietary information.  You might also want to include some language regarding indemnification, contract dispute resolution issues and remedies, attorney's fees, which state's laws are controlling in the event of a legal dispute / breach of contract, etc.  This is not a comprehensive list, but just gives you some basic provisions to include in the contract.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As much as I'd like to say, "Yes, you need a lawyer"--after all, us lawyers need business--I can't; the fact is, any two (or more parties) can draw up a contract without the need for or use of an attorney and the contract, if executed (signed) by both parties will legally binding and enforceable.

That said, if you anticipate either (1) that this could be a big budget or big revenue deal, or (2) that you'll use this contract again with over programmers, you really should hire a lawyer to write the contract--you'll want it to be right. Only if it's a low risk, low opportunity, one time deal does it make sense to try to save the few hundred dollars it would cost for a professionally drafted contract.

If you do draft the agreement yourself, make sure to state the work being done is "work for hire" --you want to make sure you own  whatever is programmed for you.


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