Customising Legal Contract Templates: A How-To Guide

Legal contract templates are a convenient and cost-effective way to formalise business arrangements, personal agreements, and other transactions. But every situation is unique, and a template straight out of the box might not cover all the specifics of your scenario. In such cases, customisation becomes essential. Here’s a how-to guide for customising legal contract templates to fit your needs.

Identifying Your Requirements

Before you even start editing a template, make a list of what you need from the contract. Determine what must be included, such as:

  1. Nature of the Agreement: Is it a service contract, a non-disclosure agreement, or an employment contract?
  2. Parties Involved: Clearly identify all parties involved in the agreement.
  3. Key Clauses: Outline the most important aspects, such as payment terms, deadlines, or termination conditions.

Choosing a Template

Select a template that closely resembles the type of agreement you’re aiming to create. Ensure it contains most of the standard clauses relevant to the type of contract you need. The closer the match, the less customisation will be necessary.

Editing the Template

Filling in the Blanks

Many templates come with placeholders where you can insert specific details, such as names, dates, and figures. Fill these in first.

Adding Custom Clauses

If you have unique conditions not covered in the template, add them in. Just ensure these clauses don’t contradict any existing ones.

Modifying Existing Clauses

Be cautious when modifying existing clauses. Legal language can be precise, and even small changes can have significant implications. If you must alter the wording, make sure the essence of the clause remains intact.

Deleting Unnecessary Sections

Remove any clauses or sections that are not applicable to your agreement. These could unnecessarily complicate the contract.

Review and Proofread

Once customised, read through the contract to ensure that it aligns with your initial list of requirements. Double-check for errors or inconsistencies, both legal and typographical.

Get Legal Advice

Even after thorough customisation, it’s wise to consult a legal advisor to review the contract. This ensures that the contract is not just tailored to your situation, but also compliant with relevant laws and regulations.

Customising a legal contract template is not overly complicated, but it does require attention to detail. Always start with a high-quality template and modify it carefully, keeping in mind the legal implications of each change. When in doubt, consult a legal advisor to ensure your contract is both custom-fit and legally sound.