Contract WISardry


  • Contracts are the keys to profits.
  • Have you ever stressed out over a difficult contract?
  • Have you ever wasted money in a contract dispute?
  • Have you felt beaten negotiating with a larger business with a big law firm?
  • Did you ever discover a law too late?

What do you do?

Hire a lawyer with experience in transactions:

As a small firm lawyer, I listen to you and respond promptly with the answers you need. With my diverse background, I see the big picture. As former Chief Counsel of a national software company, I negotiated hundreds of contracts with Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Citibank, and the Federal Reserve Bank. I couldn’t push these giant corporations around. I learned how to negotiate!

For example, I recently helped a software client negotiate a million-dollar-plus licensing agreement with one of the nation’s largest banks. I gradually met each party’s goals and objections, using these techniques! Doesn’t your business deserve this expertise?

See all the services I can provide you in My General Counsel below.

For more information seeTennessee Business Information


In private practice since 1980, I spent six years as Chief Counsel and CFO of Software Earnings, Inc. a national software company. There I negotiated hundreds of contracts with Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank. Part of my job was to assure profitable relationships.


One approach I learned was “win-win negotiating,” advocated by Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey introduced the idea that both parties can win. To win-win, you must understand what the each side wants and fears.

-Read between the lines of the offered contract to see the other party’s goals
-Listen to what they say and paraphrase it back to them to make sure that you understand them.
-Avoid negativity
-Avoid emotional exchanges

Your efforts to help your “adversary” change him into an ally. Make him want to help you. In this way, both get more out of the contract. You can offer items that mean less to him and more to them. For additional reading, I suggest The One Minute Negotiator, by Don Hudson and George Lucas. Also the Power of Two, by Susan Heitler (Susan also offers online marital counseling at The Power of Marriage)

See also The Nuts and Bolts of Contracts

About Wis Laughlin

I help clients with tax preparation and IRS representation, estate planning, and complex contracts, including LLC's. As a former IRS tax attorney in their National Office. picked Wis in 2017 and several prior years as one of the Top Tax and Estate Lawyers in Tennessee. I am your advocate, not your accountant. I don't tell you what you can't do. I show you how to do it.
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