Murphy’s laws for contracts and negotiations

The Kline rule for contracts.

The only missing document will contain information on which all other documents depend.

Grelba’s law on mistakes.

In any document, errors tend to occur in a place opposite to that from which you begin checking.

The third law of Fineagle.

In any document, it is precisely the point that causes the least doubt, and seems to certainly not need verification.


1. This error will not be noticed by any of those to whom you seek help.

2. It will instantly be discovered by anyone who glances over his shoulder with his uninvited advice.

Green rule.

What a large font gives, then small takes away.


1. Everything that is typed in boldface can be safely ignored.

2. The smaller the font, the more carefully you need to read this paragraph.

Rule Rooney.

Everything printed in small print is never good news.

The first law of writing contracts and contracts.

Never write down what can be cut from other documents and paste. Morris’s Law.

The easier it is to reach an agreement, the harder it is to change later.

Eddie’s law on negotiations.

Never negotiate until 10 o’clock in the morning and after 4 o’clock in the afternoon. At the very beginning of the day you seem full of fear, and towards evening people think that you are in despair.

Universal laws for naive engineers (adapted for lawyers).

1. If an error occurs in any document, this will necessarily happen.

2. Any error in any document will tend to cause the greatest harm.

3. The best prediction of future surprises, even approximately does not correspond to those unforeseen circumstances that will face in the real world.

4. In any contract, the most important of its elements has the greatest chance of being missed.

5. If only one company can provide the necessary services, their price will be awkward.

6. All promises of delivery terms should be multiplied by a factor of 2.0.

7. The need to make major changes in the contract always arises when the negotiations are already close to completion.

8. If several people are responsible for the error, the guilty will not be found.

Kim’s Law.

After some time has been spent on fixing and debugging an offer, someone will suggest removing the entire paragraph from the text.

The Law of Holden.

Many small and minor changes to the contract will be perceived as one major and unacceptable change.

Cunningham Law.

The party for whom the proposed changes are unacceptable will be the last party ready to participate in the revision of this document.

Moore’s saying about the documents.

In any document, the most egregious mistake goes unnoticed.

Coulbert’s principle.

The most fatal omission will not be seen until all parties sign a contract.

Loomis’s law on divorce.

Vindictiveness or rancor is not the basis for detention.

The Vogel rule for version tracking.

If there are several versions of the document, the penultimate version will be presented for signature.


The version submitted for signature necessarily contains comments such as “Are we going to support this nonsense?”.

The first law of revision of contracts.

Information that makes necessary the introduction of a change, will reach the author after – and only after – the contract is completely ready.


In those simple cases where one obviously right path is contrasted to another, clearly erroneous, it is often more reasonable to choose the wrong path, thereby accelerating the subsequent revision.

The second law of revision of contracts.

The more harmless the change looks, the wider its influence will extend and the more parts of the Document will have to be redone.

Pollard rule.

The ideal formulation of a compromise becomes evident only after the mutual hostility of the parties has reached the stage where a compromise is no longer possible.

Reich Law on Contracts.

Everything that can be changed will change until there is not a minute of time for any changes.

Miller’s remark.

This contract is so one-sided that I am amazed to see it printed on both sides of the sheets of paper.

Goldwin’s legal rule.

An arrangement that has not been drawn up according to all rules is not worth the paper on which it is written. Oral agreement is even less.

Sanderson Law.

Where there is a will, there is also a meeting.

Madison’s rule on divorce.

The shorter the courtship, the more scandalous the divorce.

Laws for negotiating the terms of the contract.

1. For every unacceptable proposal there is an equal, opposite and equally unreasonable requirement.

2. Any concession that you won is compensated by another – granted by you.

The first law of negotiations.

Negotiations should be considered successful if all parties diverge, feeling deceived.

Second law of Scott.

After the error is detected and corrected, it turns out that from the very beginning everything was correct.


After it turns out that the correction was erroneous, it will no longer be possible to give the document its original appearance.

Rule of Helga.

First say no and then enter into negotiations.

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