Murphy's Laws for Contracts and Negotiations

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Kline's rule for contracts

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

Grelb's Law of Errors

In any document, errors tend to occur in the opposite place from where you start checking.

Finagle's third law

In any document, the wrong point is the one that raises the least doubts and does not seem to need verification.


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

2. It will instantly be discovered by anyone who looks over his shoulder with his unsolicited advice.

Green's rule

What large print gives, small takes away.


1. Anything in bold can be safely ignored.

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

Rooney's rule

Anything in small print is never good news.

The first law of writing contracts and contracts

Never write something that can be cut and pasted from other documents.

Morris law

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

Eddie's Law of Negotiation

Never negotiate before 10 am and after 4 pm. At the very beginning of the day, you seem full of apprehension, and towards evening, people think that you have fallen into despair.

Universal laws for naive engineers (adapted for lawyers).

1. If an error can creep into any document, it will definitely happen.

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

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

4. In any contract, the most key 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 for delivery times should be multiplied by a factor of 2.0.

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

8. If several people are responsible for the mistake, there will be no culprit.

Kim's Law

After an hour has been spent on correcting and fine-tuning a sentence, someone will suggest removing this entire paragraph from the text.

Holden's law

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

Cunningham's law

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

Moore's dictum on documents

In any document, the most egregious mistake will go unnoticed.

Calbert's principle

The most fatal omission will not be noticed until all parties have signed a contract.

Loomis divorce law

Vindictiveness or rancor is not yet a reason for detention.

Vogel's rule for version tracking

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


The version submitted for signature necessarily contains comments like "Are we going to support this nonsense?"

First treaty revision law

The information that makes it necessary to make a change will come to the author after - and only after - the entire agreement is ready.


In those simple cases, where one clearly correct path is opposed to another, clearly wrong, it is often wiser to choose the wrong path in order to thereby speed up the subsequent revision.

Second treaty revision law

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

Pollard's rule

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

Reich's Law of Contracts

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

Goldwyn's Legal Rule

An agreement that is not executed according to all the rules is not worth the paper on which it is written. A verbal agreement costs even less.

Sanderson's Law

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

Madison's Divorce Rule

The shorter the courtship, the more scandalous the divorce.

The laws of negotiating the terms of the contract.

1. For every unacceptable proposal, there is an equal, opposite and equally unfounded claim.

2. Any concession you have won will be compensated for by another concession provided by you.

The first law of negotiation

Negotiations should be considered successful if all parties disagree, feeling cheated.

Scott's second law

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


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

Helga's Rule

First say no and then negotiate.

Watch the video: Murphys Law Explained

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