A Simple Contract - Example

Prior to the invention of the word processor, lawyers were compelled to keep their agreements short yet complete.

The US Constitution for example was kept to a single piece of paper yet has held up well over the years.

If it were written today, can you imagine it coming in at less than several thousand pages? I can't. And it would be no more readable or understandable than today's tax code.

Mark H. McCormack is the founder of International Management Group (IMG), the world's largest sports talent and marketing agency. This is an industry in which 30 to 50 page agreements are common.

Here is his story of how a simple contract - composed of only a few lines of longhand, stopped Mark McCormack in his tracks.

four or five lines of longhand

A number of years ago, our company was approached by a leading NHL hockey player who wanted us to represent him...

There was only one small problem, the athlete was already under contract to another agent. ...he handed over a single sheet of paper.

My response was: Great, no problem. How serious a commitment could possibly be indicated by four or five lines of longhand?

The thing didn't even look like a contract. All it said, in paraphrase, was that "I, _______, hereby agree that XYZ Agency can represent me exclusively with respect to my business activities throughout the world for a period of five years beginning January 1, _____, and that I will pay a commission of 25% of my gross income for this service." Period.

I passed this contract along to our legal department, asking their advice as to how the agreement might be voided.

They told me there was no way it could be. The contract was perfectly legitimate, binding and about as airtight as any contract ever is.

I wondered why, if this haiku held up fine under legal scrutiny, it was impossible for me to ever get anything so short and concise out of my lawyers. That as I said was some years ago, and I'm still wondering!

The seeming impossibility of getting anything short and fast out of a lawyer drives me, and I think most business people, crazy.

We've found that the benefits of simplicity are self-multiplying. You get more deals done, more quickly, at less cost and frequently on better terms.

Perhaps we can help you simplify your agreements.

It permits us to do more with less.

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Curt Sahakian
Attorney at Law
Chicago, Illinois