Drafting an agreement is no longer confined only to lawyers.
With the advancement of IT products and services, agreement drafting is broadly split into two parts: (a) General Terms and conditions such as Master Agreement and (b) Technical terms and conditions, such as description of product/services and clauses relating to performance, duration, fee etc., often captured in documents like Statement of Work/ Order Forms/ Work Orders/ Change Request, Amendments etc., (together, “Technical Documents”).
While companies have qualified in-house counsels to draft, review and negotiate Master Agreements carrying general terms and conditions (governing relationship between service provider and customer), Technical Documents are often drafted by pre-sales, delivery executives, or other technical experts, and negotiated by sales representatives, having limited training on drafting.
Needless to emphasize the fact that together, Master Agreement and Technical Documents, duly signed between customer and service provider, forms an agreement between the parties and referred multiple times by various internal/external stakeholders, courts, to understand the agreed terms, to perform duties, execute rights and resolve disputes. Therefore, principles of drafting a legally binding agreement (“Contract”) is equally applicable for drafting a Technical Document. Clarity, unambiguity and precision are few of the key elements that should be remembered while drafting it, on which, non-lawyers are often not formally trained.
This article provides a few pointers to all those non-lawyers, who are associated with drafting a Technical Document: