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外贸律师  
美国资深律师经验:写好合同的五十招(上)
作者:作者:James. Martin    出处:法律顾问网·涉外www.flguwen.com     时间:2014/3/29 10:13:03

Before You Write the First Word 

第一部分:在动笔之前 


    1. Ask your client to list the deal points. This can be in the form of a list, outline or narration. Doing this will help the client focus on the terms of the agreement. 
    1.要求你的客户列出合同交易的要点,也可以说是合同的清单、目录或概述。这一招首先帮助你的客户弄清合同的重点所在。 
    

2. Engage your client in "what if" scenarios. A good contract will anticipate many possible factual situations and express the parties' understanding in case those facts arise. Talking to your client about this will generate many issues you may not otherwise consider. 
2.让你的客户提供一些假设可能发生的情况。好的合同不仅能够预见到许多可能发生的情况,而且还能清楚地描述出发生这些情况后合同双方的立场。和客户聊这些情况将有助于你发现一些你可能没有考虑到的问题。 


    3. Ask your client for a similar contract. Frequently, clients have had similar transactions in the past or they have access to contracts for similar transactions. 
    3.请求你的客户提供类似的合同。通常情况下,客户都保留着过去的交易记录或者是类似合同。 

 

    4. Search your office computer or the Internet for a similar form. Many times you can find a similar form on your computer. It may be one you prepared for another client or one you negotiated with another lawyer. Just remember to find and replace the old client's name. Starting with an existing form saves time and avoids the errors of typing. 
    4.在办公室的电脑中或是在因特网上搜索类似的合同范本。通常你会在你的电脑上找到你想要的东西,这些类似的合同范本要么是你给其他客户准备的,要么是你 和其他的律师共同协商起草的。使用这些旧合同可以为你节省时间和避免打印错误,不过,用这些合同范本时别忘了替换掉老客户的名字。

 

    5. Obtain forms in books or CD-ROM. Typical forms of contracts can be found in form books, such as West's Legal Forms (a nationwide set) and Florida Jur Forms, as well as in treatises and Florida Bar CLE publications. These can be used as the starting point for drafting the contract or as checklists of typical provisions and wording to include in the contract. Many treatises and form books now come with forms on disk or CD-ROM. 
    5.从书中或者是光盘上获取合同范本。典型的合同范本在一些范例书中都可能找到:比如,西方法律文书(全国版)佛罗里达州文书期刊,另外,在有些论文和佛 罗里达州律师协会的法律继续教育出版物中也可以找到一些。起草合同时,你可以把这些范本当做原始资料,利用其中某些典型的条款和措词。更为方便的是,许多 论文和书中的合同范本都有电子文本储存在磁盘或光盘中。 

 

    6. Don't let your client sign a letter of intent without this wording. Sometimes clients are anxious to sign something to show good faith before the contract is prepared. A properly worded letter of intent is useful at such times. Just be sure that the letter of intent clearly states that it is not a contract, but that it is merely an outline of possible terms for discussion purposes. See Appendix C. 
    6.如果没有特别申明,不要让你的客户在意向书上签字。有时候,在合同未准备好之前,客户为了表示诚意,往往急于签署某些东西,当然,在这种情况下,如果 客户急于签署的是有特别申明的意向书,这也是可以的,但一定要注明:本意向书并非合同,只是双方为了更好地沟通协商,而拟定的对未来条款的概述。类似意向 书的范例见附录C。

 

Writing that First Word 
第二部分:开始起草合同 


    7. Start with a simple, generic contract form. The form in Appendix A is such a form. It provides a solid starting point for the structure of the contract. Like a house, a contract must have a good, solid foundation. 
    7.从简单、典型的合同入手。附录A就是一个简单、典型的合同,它提供了一个合同的基本支架。像房子一样,一个合同必须有一个牢固的根基。 


    8. State the correct legal names of the parties in the first paragraph. As obvious as this is, it is one of the most common problems in contracts. For individuals, include full first and last name, and middle initials if available, and other identifying information, if appropriate, such as Jr., M.D., etc. For corporations, check with the Secretary of State where incorporated. 
    8.在合同的第一段要写清楚双方的名称。,这是个简单而又不得不引起重视的问题。如果是个人,要写清姓和名,中间有大写字母和其他身份信息的,也要注明,例如:jr.,M.D,等等;如果是公司,为避免弄错,写名称时可以到公司注册地的相应机构去核对一下。

 

    9. Identify the parties by nicknames. Giving each party a nickname in the first paragraph will make the contract easier to read. For example, James W. Martin would be nicknamed "Martin." 
    9.确定合同双方的别称(简称)。为便于阅读,一般要在合同的第一段为双方弄一个别称,如:将詹姆士.马丁简写为"马丁"。 

 

    10. Be careful when using legal terms for nicknames. Do not use "Contractor" as a nickname unless that party is legally a contractor. Do not use "Agent" unless you intend for that party to be an agent, and if you do, then you better specify the scope of authority and other agency issues to avoid future disagreements. 
    10.使用法定术语作为双方当事人的别称时,要小心。除非一方当事人在法定上就是承包人,否则不要将"承包人"作为其别称。同样,除非你想让一方当事人成 为法定上的代理人,否则不要称其为"代理人",如果坚持要用,最好明确一下代理范围并找到其他可以避免将来争执的方案。

 

    11. Include a blank for the date in the first paragraph. Putting the date in the first paragraph makes it easy to find after the contract is signed. It also makes it easy to describe the contract in other documents in a precise way, such as the "December 20, 2000, Contract for Sale of Real Estate." 
    11.在合同的第一段要为书写签约时间留下空格。把签约时间放在第一段,当合同签署后,你就能够很容易地找到它,而且,这样做还可以给你在其他相关文件中准确地描述这个合同提供帮助,范例如:不动产买卖合同,订立于2000年12月20日 

 

    12. Include to provide background. Recitals are the "whereas" clauses that precede the body of a contract. They provide a simple way to bring the contract's reader (party, judge or jury) up to speed on what the contract is about, who the parties are, why they are signing a contract, etc. The first paragraph in the body of the contract can incorporate the recitals by reference and state that they are true and correct. This will avoid a later argument as to whether or not the recitals are a legally binding part of the contract. 
    12.书写引述语。引述语是指那些放在合同主体前面的"鉴于"条款。书写此类条款的目的是为了让读者(通常指合同双方,法官,陪审团)很快地了解到合同的 主要内容是什么,合同双方是谁,以及他们为什么签订合同,等等。当然,合同主体的第一段也可以加上引述语并陈述其是真实准确的,如果这样做了,合同双方将 来就不会争执:引述语作为合同的一部分是否具有法律效力? 

 

    13. Outline the contract by writing out and underlining paragraph headings in their logical order. The paragraphs should flow in logical, organized fashion. It is not necessary to write them all at once; you can write them as you think of them. Try to group related concepts in the same paragraphs or in adjacent paragraphs. For example, write an employment contract's initial paragraph headings like this: 
    Recitals. 
    Employment. 
    Duties. 
    Term. 
    Compensation. 
    13.按逻辑顺序列出合同段落的标题词.合同的段落是按一定的逻辑顺序组织起来的,当然,你并不需要一下子列出所有段落的标题词,想到多少就写多少,不过,这些标题词要力求总结出每个段落或相关段落的内容。比如:撰写劳动合同时列出的标题词就像下面这些: 
    引述语 
    聘用 
    职责 
    期限 
    赔偿 

  

  14. Complete each paragraph by writing the contract terms that apply to that paragraph. This is simple. You learned this in elementary school. Just explain in words what the parties agree to do or not do paragraph by paragraph. 
    14.在撰写每一段时要注意内容集中,不要东拉西扯,是的,这很简单,你可能上小学时就学过,但我还是要提醒你,要集中火力,一段一段地分别说明合同双方同意做什么,不同意做什么。 

 

    15. Keep a pad at hand to remember clauses to add. It is normal to think of additional clauses, wording and issues while writing a contract. Jot these down on a pad as you write; they are easily forgotten. Also keep your client's outline and other forms in front of you as you write, and check off items as you write them. 
    15.放一个便笺簿在手边,以便记下需要添加的条款。在书写合同的同时,你可能随时会想到一些需要添加条款、措词和问题,要尽快记在便笺簿上,因为他们太容易忘了。另外,你最好将客户列出的要点和一些类似的合同范本也放在眼前,以便在书写过程中随时查对。

 

    16. Repeat yourself only when repetition is necessary to improve clarity. Ambiguity is created by saying the same thing more than once; it is almost impossible to say it twice without creating ambiguity. Only if the concept is a difficult one should you write it in more than one way. In addition, if you use an example to clarify a difficult concept or formula, be sure that all possible meanings are considered and that the example is accurate and consistent with the concept as worded. 
    16.除非是为了更清晰地说明问题,否则不要在合同中重复陈述某个内容。将一个事实来回地说很容易让人模棱两可。如果你将一个概念重复地解释,那理解起来 就更有困难。另外,如果你想通过一个例子来阐明一个难以理解的概念或规则时,一定要考虑到其所有的含义、这个例子的准确性以及它和概念的相符性。

 

What to Watch Out for When Writing 
第三部分:撰写时的注意事项 

 

    17. Title it "Contract." Do not leave this one to chance. If your client wants a contract, call it a contract. A judge now sitting on the federal bench once ruled that a document entitled "Proposal" was not a contract even though signed by both parties. The lesson learned is, "Say what you mean." If you intend the document to be a legally binding contract, use the word "Contract" in the title. 
    17.标题上注明"合同"两字。不要为碰运气而忽略这个。如果你的客户需要合同,就要注明是合同。一个仍在联邦法院里任职的法官就曾经裁定:有双方签字, 但标有"建议书"的文件并非合同。这给我们的教训就是,你怎么想,就应该怎么说。如果你想让你的文件成为具有法律效力的合同,就要在标题中注明"合同"字 样。 


    18. Write in short sentences. Short sentences are easier to understand than long ones. 
    18.写短句子,因为短句子比长句子让人更容易理解。 

 

    19. Write in active tense, rather than passive. Active tense sentences are shorter and use words more efficiently, and their meaning is more apparent. Example of active: "Sellers shall sell the Property to Buyer." Example of passive: "The Property shall be sold to Buyer by Seller." 
    19.用主动语态而不用被动语态。相对而言,主动语态的句子更简短,措词更精练,表达更明白。还是让我们来来看一个例子吧,主动语态的句子:卖方将把此物卖给买方;被动语态的句子:此物将被卖方卖给买方。 

 

    20. Don't use the word "biweekly." It has two meanings: twice a week and every other week. The same applies to "bimonthly." Instead, write "every other week" or "twice a week." 
    20.不要用“双周”之类的词,因为这有可能产生歧义----是两周还是每隔一周?类似的词还有"双月",所以最好这样写:"两周"或"每隔一周"。

 

    21. Don't say things like "active termites and organisms". Avoid ambiguity by writing either "active termites and active organisms" or "organisms and active termites." When adding a modifier like "active" before a compound of nouns like "termites and organisms", be sure to clarify whether you intend the modifier to apply to both nouns or just the first one. If you intend it to apply to both, use parallel construction and write the modifier in front of each noun. If you intend it to apply to just one noun, place that one noun at the end of the list and the modifier directly in front of it. 
    21.不要说"活动着的白蚁和有机体"之类的话,为了避免模棱两可,最好这样写:“活动着的白蚁和活动着的有机体”或是“白蚁和活动着的有机体”。当一组 名词(如"白蚁和有机体")前有一个修饰语(如"活动着的")时,你一定要弄清楚这个修饰语是修饰两个名词还是仅仅修饰第一个名词。如果是修饰两个词,可 以用排比的手法分别在这两个词之前加上修饰语,如果你只想修饰一个名词,那么你就应该把这个词放在这组词的最后,然后在它的前面加上修饰语。 

 

    22. Don't say "Lessor" and "Lessee." These are bad nicknames for a lease because they are easily reversed or mistyped. Use "Landlord" and "Tenant" instead. The same applies to lienor and lienee, mortgagor and mortgagee, grantor and grantee, licensor and licensee, party A and party B. This is where you can use your creativity to come up with a different nickname for a party, as long as you use it consistently throughout the contract. 
    22.不要说“出租人”和“承租人”。这对一个租赁合同来说是些不好的别称,因为他们容易被颠倒或者出现打印错误。可以用“房东”和“房客”来代替他们。 同样,在合同中也不要说留置权人和留置人,抵押权人和抵押人,保证人和被保证人,许可人和被许可人,当事人A和当事人B......到底怎么说,这就要看 你驾驭语言的能力了,不过,要把握的一条原则,即在整个合同中,对合同一方只能用一个别称。 

 

    23. Watch out when using "herein." Does "wherever used herein" mean anywhere in the contract or anywhere in the paragraph? Clarify this ambiguity if it matters. 
    23.使用术语“本文(herein,也可译为”“在这里”)时要当心。为了避免含糊不清,使用“本文”时最好特别申明一下“本文”是指整个合同,还是指其所在的某一段落。 

 

    24. Write numbers as both words and numerals: ten (10). This will reduce the chance for errors. 
    24.写数目时要文字和阿拉伯数字并用,如:拾(10)。这将减少一些不经意的错误。 

 

    25. When you write "including" consider adding "but not limited to." Unless you intend the list to be all-inclusive, you had better clarify your intent that it is merely an example. 
    25.如果你想用"包括"这个词,就要考虑在其后加上"但不限于....."的分句。除非你能够列出所有被包括的项,否则最好用"但不限于...."的分句,来说明你只是想举个例子。 

 

    26. Don't rely on the rules of grammar. The rules of grammar that you learned in school are not universal. The judge or jury interpreting the meaning of your contract may have learned different rules. Write the contract so that no matter what rules they learned, the contract is clear and unambiguous. Follow this test for clear writing: Remove all periods and commas, then read it. Choosing the right words and placing them in the right place makes the writing clear without punctuation. 
    26.不要依赖于语法规则。那些你在学校里得到的语法规则并不是放之四海而皆准的东西,因为有权力来解释此合同的法官或陪审团成员学的语法规则可能和你学 的不一样,但不管学的是什么规则,撰写合同都要遵循一个基本原则:简洁、明确。检测你写的东西是否达到这个要求有个好办法,那就是去掉所有的句号和逗号, 然后去读它。在没有标点符号的情况下,选择正确的词语放在正确的位置上,这将使你写出来的东西更简明,更流畅。 

 

    27. Don't be creative with words. Contract writing is not creative writing and is not meant to provoke reflective thoughts or controversies about nuances of meaning. Contract writing is clear, direct and precise. Therefore, use common words and common meanings. Write for the common man and the common woman. 
    27.不要创造词语。合同文书不是创造性的作品,也就不能因为意思的细微差别而引起思考或争论。合同文书应该是清晰、直接而准确的。因此,要使用普通的词语,表达普通的意思,为普通人撰写合同。 

 

    28. Be consistent in using words. If you refer to the subject matter of a sales contract as "goods" use that term throughout the contract; do not alternately call them "goods" and "items." Maintaining consistency is more important than avoiding repetition. Don't worry about putting the reader to sleep; worry about the opposing lawyer a year from now hunting for ambiguities to get your contract into court. 
    28.用词一致。在一份销售合同中,如果你想用“货物”来指整个合同的标的物,就不要时而称它们为“货物”,时而又改称它们为“产品”。保持用词一致性比避免重复更加重要。不要担心这会让读者打瞌睡;你应该提防的是对方律师会因为含糊不清的合同而将你告上法庭。 

 

    29. Be consistent in grammar and punctuation. The rules of grammar and punctuation you learned may differ from others, but you had better be consistent in your use of them. Be aware of such things as where you put ending quote marks, whether you place commas after years and states, and similar variations in style. 
    29.在文法和标点符号上保持一致。你可能学过许多不同类的文法和标点符号规则,但在使用它们时最好保持一致。要特别注意句末的引号、时间和地点之后的逗号以及文风的相似性。 

 

    30. Consider including choice of law, venue selection, and attorneys fee clauses. If your contract gets litigated, you might as well give your client some "ammunition" for the fight. Examples of these clauses appear in Appendices A and C. 
    30.可以在合同中加入准据法、审判地、律师费等条款。有了这些条款,一旦合同引起诉讼,你就已经为了你的客户打这场诉讼战准备了一些“弹药”。类似的条款见附录A和B。 

 

Write for the Judge and Jury 
第四部分:要为法官和陪审团考虑 


    31. Assume the reader is a knowledgeable layman. If your writing is so clear that a layman could understand it, then it is less likely it will end up in court. 
    31.要假设合同的读者是一个受过教育的外行,如果你书写的合同简明得连一个外行都能理解,那么即使到了法庭上,,你也不用害怕。 

 

    32. Define a word by capitalizing it and putting it in quotes. Capitalizing a word indicates that you intend it to have a special meaning. The following are two sample clauses for defining terms: 
    Wherever used in this contract, the word "Goods" shall mean the goods that Buyer has agreed to purchase from Seller under this contract.Buyer hereby agrees to purchase from Seller ten (10) frying pans, hereinafter called the "Goods." 
    32.强调一个合同术语可以这样做:加上双引号并将其开头的字母大写。将一个词语的开头字母大写表明你想让它有一个特别的意思。下面有两个定义术语的例子: 
    一.本合同中使用的“货物”("Goods")是指买方已经同意向卖方购买的货物; 
    二.本合同中买方同意向卖方购买的拾(10)只平底锅,即下文中的“货物”("Goods")。 

 

    33. Define words when first used. Instead of writing a section of definitions at the beginning or end of a contract, consider defining terms and concepts as they first appear in the contract. This will make it easier for the reader to follow. 
    33.第一次使用某个术语时就要下定义。定义合同术语不是在合同的开头,也不是在合同的结尾,而是在这个术语第一次出现的时候,这样做,有利于读者更好地理解合同。 

 

    34. Explain technical terms and concepts. Remember that the parties might understand technical jargon, but the judge and jury who interpret and apply the contract do not. Therefore, explain the contract's terms and concepts within the contract itself. Let the contract speak for itself from within its four corners. 
    34.勤于解释合同中的术语和概念。要记住合同双方的当事人可能会理解合同中某些专用术语,但法官和陪审团却可能一无所知。所以撰写合同时要让合同自己为自己释义。 

 

(来源:美国佛罗里达州律所杂志)


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