A Perfect Pact

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, May 6, 2016

medical aesthetics contractA small business, such as a medical aesthetics practice or medical spa, generally has a razor-thin margin of error. Seemingly insignificant issues can become enormous headaches in the blink of an eye, and they can cost a small business a great deal of time and money if the business’s interests aren’t properly protected by a contract. Here is some expert advice for drafting an effective contract for your medical aesthetics practice or medical spa.

Do: Contact a Healthcare Attorney
Many small business owners and operators, including those in the medical aesthetics industry, often choose not to give much thought to the drafting of their contracts. Most tend to quickly adapt their existing contracts to new situations or use pre-written contracts from online legal technology companies, such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer. And although doing this may provide sufficient coverage in the short term and save some money, it will likely cost those businesses much more than they would have spent simply hiring an attorney to draft those contracts in the first place. When a contract is prepared by an attorney, it is carefully sculpted to protect the interests of the party that is paying to create it. That level of care is not present in prefabricated or hastily adapted contracts. If business owners do not approach every contract as its own entity, they are going to wind up missing something—and that something could end up being very costly. Typically, it costs about twice as much for attorneys to clean up a mess than for them to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Don’t: Assume Everything Is Going to Work Out
It’s easy to be optimistic when you’re opening a new business or embarking on a new venture. However, attorneys who are drafting contracts have to look at things in a different way—they must envision the worst-case scenario and prepare each contract accordingly. Experienced attorneys have likely seen most of the situations they are presented with many, many times, so they know what happens when something goes wrong. Because of this, they’re going to include all the provisions needed to protect their client. This is why contracts tend to become enormous, impenetrable documents that a layman could never hope to decipher. 

Do: Keep It Simple
Impenetrable walls of legalese tend to be part and parcel of the contract-drafting experience. However, a conscientious lawyer will also include a statement that clearly communicates, in easy-to-understand language, exactly what that contract is trying to accomplish. This requires the medical aesthetics professional to communicate to the attorney the need for the contract and any sort of back-story that has contributed to its creation. This will help medical aesthetics professionals keep their information organized and, if the contract is contested in court, it will help the judge to understand what the contract is trying to accomplish and why.

Don’t: Keep It Too Simple
However, while simpler tends to be better, those impenetrable walls of legalese are there for a reason, and attorneys are not doing their job if the contract doesn’t fully protect their client from the circumstances outlined in the introductory statement. If the medical aesthetics professional runs into trouble, that document is what is going to be referred to, so if there’s something that is omitted, that’s too bad. It is up to clients to communicate their needs to the attorney; it is up to the attorney to make sure that those needs are met.
Although contracts may seem like an easy item for professionals to draw up on their own, the reality is, without the proper guidance and understanding of the law, an improperly drawn up contract could cost a business much more than the fee it takes to enlist an attorney’s help from the beginning.—Alex R. Thiersch 

A Perfect Pact
Discover the dos and don’ts of drafting a contract.

Alex R. Thiersch is a Chicago healthcare attorney who represents medical spas, plastic surgeons, and aesthetic medical professionals. He is the founder and director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa), which was created for the express purpose of providing comprehensive, relevant, and timely legal and business resources for medical spas and medical aesthetic physicians throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.americanmedspa.org or email him at alex@americanmedspa.org.

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