In a recent LeClairRyan webinar about successful mediating, attorney Robyn Gnudi Kalocsay pointed out that failing to get the agreed-upon terms in writing can be a critical mistake at the end of the negotiation process. She said, “You can leave the mediation thinking that you have an agreement, and spend the next three months trying to get the agreement re-agreed to by both sides.”
Here are three suggestions for avoiding this problem.
1. Confirm all oral commitments in writing as soon as they have been made, perhaps by email or fax.
2. Get a ready-to-be-signed written agreement over to your counterpart ASAP and include a reasonable deadline for his or her signature and some incentive for them to sign it by the deadline.
3. Don’t adversely affect your leverage, such as setting aside a trial or arbitration date, until you have a signed, sealed and delivered deal.