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Contract Negotiation Strategy?

April 22, 2014

Question:

Jennifer,

I am finishing my training and I just received an offer for a new position and would like some tips in contract negotiation strategy.  Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Dr. A

Answer:

Contract negotiation when entering an entry level position or associate position is not often akin to a heated game of chess.  There may be some positioning required, but for the most part  I recommend stating specific intention and expectation upfront, preferably before a contract is presented to you (or even an offer letter) - especially the big ticket items - salary, job location, days off, schedule concepting - some of which may be non-negotiable and others pliable.  Failing to express your expectation may result in you losing such an opportunity.  Employers often take the position that if a concern was not raised upfront, you were not forthcoming in your initial interview process.  Go in with an idea of what you are looking for and willing to accept, and be vocal about it in a professional manner. 

During the contract negotiation process striking the proper balance between self-advocate and being overly demanding is difficult and will vary depending on the circumstances and individuals involved.  If at any time you feel you need assistance or prefer to preserve the relationship by having a third party advocate, feel free to reach out.  Similarly, you may find your employer playing the attorney "blame game" - of "my attorney made me put that in and says I can't take it out".  If you find yourself in this scenario you will likely need your own attorney to get involved asap if the terms at issue are of import.  The next anticipated question given the preceding sentence - how do I know if a term is of import?  Some are obvious - key terms listed above - some are less obvious and may have to do with termination, malpractice or liability.  It is imperative that you understand your contract. 

Be advised that it is not uncommon for agreed-upon terms pre-contract to be altered, confused or improperly drafted in the actual contract presented, which is just one of the many reasons to make sure you have your contract reviewed.    

 
 
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JENNIFER KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ. l  JENNIFER@KIRSCHENBAUMESQ.COM
KIRSCHENBAUM & KIRSCHENBAUM, P.C. l 200 Garden City Plz, Garden City, NY 11530
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