Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
February 23, 2023
I just completed residency and I am beginning to receive job offers. Can I review the offers myself or do I need an attorney to review them? At what point in the process should I consult an attorney? How can an attorney help me?
Dr. J, first, congratulations on the tremendous accomplishment of finishing training! Second, congratulations on your job offer! 1. You absolutely should read the offer yourself and think critically about how the terms match what you were expecting to receive, and how the terms might actually play out in “real life” off the page the words are written on. 2. When I read your agreement v. when you read your agreement, I’m likely going to see concepts and constructs you are not aware of. So, yes, you need your agreement reviewed. Not necessarily because you will have the ability to change the agreement substantially, but so that you are confident you understand what the maximum terms you may be held to mean, and so you understand what happens if, and how, you may leave.
Turning this over to Clorissa Winters, Esq., our resident associate contracts expert – Clorissa, what are a few of the most surprising “sleeper” concepts you’ve found lurking in recent employment agreements?
Thanks, Jen. I am always caught off guard when I find a liquidated damages provision baked into a non compete or non solicit provision. This doesn't happen often, but when it does, the concept of a large monetary amount for an action that may not be intentional, such as a patient potentially following you. Another "no no" is in the odd case where no right to terminate without cause is included for the employee. You most certainly need a way to leave. I echo Jen's sentiments; while you may not be successful in all revisions we would like prior to signing, signing without understanding your contractual commitments once you sign is ill-advised, with potentially incurable ramifications. Always have your agreement review by an experienced healthcare attorney. We offer a special reduced flat fee rate for residents and fellows. We do not want your reason for not having your agreement reviewed be the potential cost - your future and your rights to work are too important.