While many people consider email to be an informal way of communicating, courts have generally held that emails can be considered enforceable contracts even if the intended purpose was for casual negotiation.
The Reality of Email Communication
In emails or in correspondence, anyone seeking to make an agreement should do the following:
- If you are making an offer, state that it is an offer.
- If you are rejecting an offer, you should state the rejection clearly; if you want to then make a counteroffer, follow up the rejection with the counteroffer.
- Whether an offer or a counteroffer, your correspondence needs to specify (1) who the parties are to the agreement with specificity, (2) what is to be done by each party, (3) when it is expected to be done, (4) how much money is to be paid, if applicable, and for what purpose.
- If you are accepting an offer, state that it is an acceptance and reiterate the terms of the offer so it is clear the offer has been accepted. Then go further and state that, by accepting the offer, the parties have an agreement. This is important because some parties may want to drag on negotiations.
- If you have accepted an offer and do not hear back from the offering party after the acceptance, follow up with that party to confirm that they received the acceptance and to reiterate that you expect the agreement to be executed as stated.
While not every agreement has to be in writing in order for it to be enforceable, it is always advisable to put it in writing. Business owners and executives should consult with legal counsel to draft and negotiate any complex transactions.
The lawyers at Bridge Law Firm can help you create a contract for any business relationship you have that will precisely define the relationship between you and your partner, your employees, your contractors, your customers and for your website. Having contracts in place protects your business from potentially costly litigation, and deters others from taking advantage of you. Call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.