Over my almost 18 years of practicing transactional law, I’ve often been mildly (or sometimes not so mildly) exasperated by common inconsiderate behaviors by opposing counsel on my deals. Of course, our primary job as attorneys is to represent our clients, but unnecessarily agitating other attorneys does not, in the long run, serve our clients’ interests. The following are some frequently-occurring examples of bad corporate attorney etiquette to avoid:
Sending Uneditable Drafts. Often I will receive initial drafts of an agreement in PDF or read-only form. In other words, I can’t easily get into the document to provide edits. Of course, I can provide the comments in other ways, but the point is that you’ve made it harder for me to do my job. The signal you’re sending by doing this is the opposite of transparency, and if anything, it predisposes me to think you’re trying to hide something. The time to create PDF versions is when both sides are in agreement and ready to execute the agreement.