Dallas, Texas, USA, 07/26/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
Whether by handshake or an email that says “It’s a deal,” business owners often get into legal trouble because of a gentleman’s agreement (a.k.a. gentlemen’s agreement).
What is a Gentleman’s Agreement?
“A gentleman’s agreement is an agreement which is not an agreement, made between two people neither of whom are gentlemen, whereby each expects the other to be strictly bound without himself being bound at all.” – Sir Harry Vaisey
Despite Judge Vaisey’s cynical description of such an agreement, most informal deals are entered into in good faith between small business owners who want to get things done without the time and cost of retaining a qualified business lawyer to paper the deal as a legally binding contract.
Donald Trump and the Art of the Handshake Deal
If you’ve read “The Art of the Deal” by Donald Trump or “Trump-Style Negotiation” by The Trump Organization’s senior legal counsel, George H. Ross, you’ll know that Trump will often shake hands on a verbal gentlemen’s agreement with another party.
However, according to Dallas Business Lawyer Mike Young, Trump will then turn the deal over to Attorney Ross or another business lawyer to draft the contract that reflects the terms agreed to between the parties.
Words Have Different Meanings
So what’s wrong with just getting things done without a written contract in place?
Spoken words often have a different meaning to the listener than to the speaker. For example, if you’re buying a shipment of smartphones and tell the supplier that you need them a.s.a.p., you might mean delivery next week. However, the seller could interpret “as soon as possible” to be three months from now when he gets his next shipment from China.
As pointed out by successful entrepreneur and author Harvey Mackay, “[p]ale ink is better than the most retentive memory.”
To learn more about gentlemen’s agreements and how to protect your business when entering into one, go to
Follow Dallas Business Lawyer Mike Young on Linkedin at
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