Dentists are engaged often by independent contractor agreements and service and facility agreements. There is no such thing as a perfect agreement, well….. not from the perspective of both parties – but I am often asked to review* a contract.
These can vary from a 3 page contract to one I have seen that was close to 60 pages.
Any lawyer reviewing these contracts will take time to read and possibly research the case law and relevant legislation.
If you as a dentist intend to sign a contract with a practice you should be careful to do the following:
- Read the contract in its entirety.
- Print it out and highlight the sections you do not understand.
- Talk to others about the contract.
- Pay particular attention to the basics – remuneration, termination provisions, term of contract, restraint, dispute resolution, indemnities, and fees retention.
- Also look at any policies referred to and that the schedule is completed.
Contracts are supposed to reflect the agreement between the parties. Normally there can be at least some negotiation until such time and the parties can live with the agreement.
If you as a dentist are not sure of the effect of the clauses of the contract and how they might relate to you and have effect on dental practice, and whether there are prospects for negotiation and on what basis then you probably need to seek and pay for legal advice. Thats why most modern contracts will have a clause to that effect – that the dentist has had the opportunity of obtaining independent legal advice.
It is trite to say that looking an executed contract in a dispute when you either do not understand it or have not understood its effect is going to put you well behind the eight ball.
*I am also frequently asked to draft them, but that is the nature of being a lawyer.