Key Aspects to Consider When Reviewing Contracts

Key Aspects to Consider When Reviewing Contracts


What is contract review? It's a crucial analysis process ensuring that contractual agreements are fair, devoid of risks, and legally enforceable. This integral task is especially imperative in everyday business transactions where contracts bind the terms, roles, and expectations between parties.

In the dynamic world of SaaS startups and small businesses, contracts play a pivotal role. They not only outline business relations but also shield companies from potential legal conflicts and financial losses. Therefore, understanding and executing a thorough contract review is fundamental to business operations and risk management.

Given the complexity and legal jargon often found in contracts, it's essential for business founders and entrepreneurs to grasp this process to uphold their interests and ensure compliance without getting bogged down by the legal nuances that permeate the tech-driven business environment.

Detailed infographic on the steps and benefits of contract review in business - what is contract review infographic step-infographic-4-steps

Understanding Contract Review


What is contract review? Simply put, it’s a detailed examination of a contract before it’s signed to ensure it's fair, legal, and aligned with the parties' intentions. This process helps prevent future disputes by clarifying terms and conditions and identifying any potentially problematic clauses.


The contract review process involves several steps: 1. Reading and Understanding: Every word and clause is read to ensure understanding of its implications. 2. Identifying Red Flags: Looking for ambiguous language, unfair terms, and potential liabilities. 3. Negotiations: Discussing and renegotiating terms that might be unfavorable or unclear. 4. Final Approval: Ensuring all parties agree with the revised terms before signing.

This process can be meticulous and time-consuming but is crucial in protecting the interests of all parties involved.

Automation Software

With the advent of technology, automation software has become a game-changer in how contracts are reviewed. Tools like Juro offer in-browser contract reviews, allowing for real-time collaboration and changes. These platforms maintain a version history, making it easy to track changes and compare different versions of the contract without losing any data.

Manual vs. Automated

While traditional manual reviews are thorough, they are also prone to human error and can be incredibly time-consuming, especially for businesses dealing with a high volume of contracts. Automated tools, on the other hand, use artificial intelligence to scan and flag issues much faster than a human can, significantly reducing the time and effort involved in contract reviews.

Automated systems aren't just about speed; they also offer enhanced accuracy in identifying complex contract elements that might be overlooked manually. However, it's crucial to understand that automation should complement, not replace, human oversight. The nuanced understanding of a trained professional is invaluable, especially for complex negotiations and high-stakes contracts.

In conclusion, understanding the nuances of contract review, whether through manual or automated processes, is essential not only to maintain healthy business relations but also to shield companies from potential legal conflicts and financial losses. Integrating smart technologies with human expertise will be key to efficient and secure contract management.

Key Elements of a Contract Review

When diving into what is contract review, focus on the core components that make up this critical process. These elements ensure that the contracts you sign are not only legally sound but also align with your business goals and comply with relevant regulations.

Terms and Conditions

The backbone of any contract is its terms and conditions. These outline the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of all parties involved. It's crucial to scrutinize each term for clarity and fairness. Ambiguities in the wording can lead to different interpretations, potentially leading to disputes down the line.


Every contract must adhere to the applicable laws and regulations. Non-compliance can invalidate a contract and expose your business to legal penalties. During a contract review, ensure that the agreement meets all regulatory requirements, which might include industry-specific standards or regional legal mandates.


Proper documentation is essential not only during the formation of a contract but throughout its lifespan. This includes maintaining records of negotiations, changes made to the contract, and any communications related to the contract. Good documentation practices help protect your organization in the event of misunderstandings or legal disputes.

Negotiating Terms

Negotiation is a critical phase in the contract review process. It's your opportunity to align the contract's terms more closely with your business interests. Effective negotiation requires a clear understanding of your priorities and the areas where you can afford to be flexible.

Example: Imagine you're negotiating a contract for a new software tool for your business. The vendor's standard contract includes an automatic renewal clause that could lock you into a long-term commitment. During the contract review, identifying this clause allows you to negotiate terms that better suit your business's operational needs and financial planning.

In the context of what is contract review, these elements play pivotal roles in safeguarding your business's interests and ensuring that all contracts you enter into support rather than hinder your strategic objectives. As we proceed, while technology can streamline many aspects of contract review, the human element in understanding, negotiating, and applying these key components is irreplaceable.

Moving on, let's explore why contract review is not just a formality, but a necessity for protecting your business legally and financially.

Why Contract Review is Essential

Legal and Financial Risk

Contract reviews are critical because they help prevent legal disputes that can be costly and time-consuming. A contract that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted might contain terms that are not legally enforceable or that create unintended obligations. For instance, if a contract inadvertently includes illegal terms, it could be declared void, and your business could face legal penalties.

Protecting Interests

A thorough review of a contract ensures that the interests of all parties are aligned and protected. This process helps clarify each party's responsibilities and rights, reducing the likelihood of conflicts. For example, a clear understanding of the deliverables, timelines, and quality standards helps ensure that all parties know what is expected and can plan accordingly.

Avoiding Liability

One of the key reasons to conduct a contract review is to avoid liability. Misunderstandings or ambiguities in contract terms can lead to breaches, which might not only result in financial losses but also damage your business’s reputation. A contract review helps to identify and amend vague terms that could be interpreted in different ways, minimizing the risk of litigation.

Importance for Small Businesses

For small businesses, the stakes are even higher. They often have limited resources and cannot afford the legal battles that might arise from a poorly drafted contract. A contract review can be seen as a preventive measure, helping small businesses avoid legal pitfalls that could potentially bankrupt them. It ensures that they do not agree to terms that they cannot fulfill or that are unfavorable to their business operations.

In the context of what is contract review, understanding its importance is crucial for any business owner or manager. It’s not just about checking a box; it’s about actively protecting your business from potential threats and ensuring that all agreements you enter into serve your business’s best interests. Let’s delve into the specific steps involved in the contract review process to better understand how to effectively execute this essential business practice.

Steps in the Contract Review Process

When it comes to what is contract review, the process involves several critical steps that ensure contracts are sound, transparent, and beneficial for all parties involved. Here's a breakdown of how to navigate this process effectively:

Reading Thoroughly

The first step is to read the entire contract meticulously. Every word matters. This thorough reading prevents misunderstandings and helps identify any clauses that may be unfavorable or ambiguous. It's essential to understand not just the individual clauses but how they interact within the contract as a whole.

Identifying Problems

As you read, mark any areas that are unclear, unrealistic, or overly stringent. Problems can range from minor wording issues to major legal red flags. For instance, a termination clause that is too vague could lead to disputes on how and when the contract can be ended. This step is about spotting these issues before they become real problems.

Opportunities for Improvement

After identifying the problems, consider how these could be turned into opportunities for improvement. For example, if the payment terms are unclear, this is an opportunity to negotiate terms that are more favorable and precise. This proactive approach not only solves potential problems but can also strengthen the business relationship by fostering fair negotiations.

Agreement on Terms

Once the contract has been thoroughly reviewed and all parties have had the opportunity to suggest improvements, the next step is to come to an agreement on the terms. This involves negotiating and reconciling differences until a mutually beneficial agreement is reached. It’s important that all changes are clearly documented and agreed upon by all parties.

Using Modern Tools: Juro and Microsoft Word Limitations

Modern contract review processes often leverage digital tools to enhance accuracy and efficiency. Juro, for example, offers features like in-browser reviews and real-time collaboration, which streamline the review process significantly. It allows users to mark up documents directly and maintain a clear audit trail of changes and comments.

On the other hand, traditional tools like Microsoft Word have limitations, particularly when handling complex contract reviews. Issues with tracking changes, version control, and document recovery can complicate the review process rather than simplify it. These limitations highlight why many businesses are moving towards specialized contract review platforms that are designed to handle the intricacies of contract management.


Each step in the contract review process is crucial in ensuring that the final agreement is clear, fair, and legally binding. By thoroughly reading the contract, identifying and resolving issues, and using the right tools, businesses can protect themselves from legal risks and foster stronger, more effective business relationships. We'll explore common pitfalls in contract review and how to avoid them, ensuring your business stays protected and compliant.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

When conducting a contract review, several common pitfalls can arise, potentially leading to legal and financial complications. Understanding these pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them is crucial for protecting your business.

Unclear Provisions

Problem: Ambiguous language can lead to different interpretations, potentially causing disputes between parties. Solution: Use clear, concise language. Replace complex legal jargon with simpler terms whenever possible. Ensure that all terms are explicitly defined within the contract.

Outdated Clauses

Problem: Contracts that aren't updated may contain clauses that are no longer compliant with current laws or business practices. Solution: Regularly review and update contracts to ensure they align with current regulations and business needs. This is especially important for long-term agreements.


Problem: Even with clear language, parties may misinterpret their responsibilities. Solution: Include a detailed explanation of each party's obligations and expectations. Use examples or scenarios to illustrate how clauses should be interpreted.

Pitfalls Exposure

Problem: Unidentified risks in the contract can expose a business to unexpected liabilities. Solution: Conduct a thorough risk assessment during the review process. Identify and address potential risks by modifying the contract or preparing mitigation strategies.

Formatting Errors

Problem: Poorly formatted contracts can lead to overlooked details and misinterpretations. Solution: Use a consistent, clear format throughout the document. Employ headings, subheadings, and lists to break up text and highlight important information.

Security Concerns

Problem: Protecting the confidentiality and integrity of contract documents is critical. Solution: Use secure platforms for drafting, reviewing, and storing contracts. Ensure that access is restricted to authorized personnel only.

By addressing these common pitfalls, you can enhance the clarity and enforceability of your contracts, reduce the risk of disputes, and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The focus will shift to conducting effective contract review meetings, which play a pivotal role in catching and addressing these issues early on.

Conducting an Effective Contract Review Meeting

Contract review meetings are crucial checkpoints where your team comes together to scrutinize the details of a contract before finalizing it. These meetings are designed to catch potential issues early, ensure mutual understanding, and refine the terms to better suit all parties involved. Here's how to make these meetings as effective as possible:

Performance Review Meetings

Start with a clear agenda. Outline the main points of discussion and distribute it to all participants beforehand. This prepares everyone and keeps the meeting focused. Utilize this time to review the performance obligations laid out in the contract and assess whether they align with the capabilities and goals of your organization.

Focus Areas

Identify key areas of the contract that require the most attention. Common focus areas include:

  • Terms and Conditions: Are they clear and fair?
  • Obligations and Rights: Do all parties understand their responsibilities?
  • Compliance and Legalities: Does the contract adhere to applicable laws and regulations?

Highlighting these areas ensures that nothing crucial is overlooked.

Early Problem Identification

The earlier a problem is identified, the easier it is to address without significant repercussions. Encourage team members to voice any concerns they may have. This could be about vague language that might lead to misinterpretations or unrealistic terms that could strain business operations. Early detection of such issues can save time and resources that might otherwise be spent on legal disputes.

Improvement Opportunities

Each contract review meeting should be seen as an opportunity to improve the contract's terms for the benefit of all parties. Discuss potential enhancements, such as:

  • Flexibility in Terms: Can we offer more adaptable terms that could make the contract more appealing to both parties?
  • Innovative Clauses: Are there new industry practices or clauses we can include to provide additional security or benefits?

This proactive approach not only improves the current contract but also aids in the continuous improvement of future contracts.

By focusing on these key areas during your contract review meetings, you can ensure that contracts are not only compliant and fair but also aligned with your business objectives. This process is essential in mitigating risks and setting the stage for successful business relationships. A well-conducted contract review meeting is a strategic tool in achieving operational excellence and long-term success.

Essential Skills for Contract Review

When reviewing contracts, certain skills are crucial to ensure accuracy, mitigate risks, and represent client interests effectively. Let's explore these essential skills:


Every word in a contract matters. A misplaced comma or an ambiguous term can lead to misunderstandings or legal disputes. Precision involves paying close attention to detail and ensuring that each clause is clear and specific. For instance, understanding payment terms like "30 days EOM" (end of month) is crucial, as missing "EOM" might extend the payment period unintentionally, affecting cash flow.

Risk Management

Contract review isn't just about ensuring compliance with the law; it's also about identifying potential risks. This could include financial liabilities, unclear obligations, or terms that could lead to future disputes. Effective risk management in contract review means assessing what could go wrong and preparing strategies to mitigate these risks. For example, including clear termination clauses can save a company from prolonged disputes or financial drains if relationships sour.

Legal Strategy

Developing a legal strategy through contract review involves more than just understanding the current laws. It means anticipating potential changes in legislation, understanding the legal environment of all parties involved, and crafting terms that protect your client’s interests under various scenarios. For instance, if a contract spans multiple jurisdictions, the reviewer must ensure that the contract complies with the laws of all relevant territories.

Client Representation

Understanding and advocating for your client's needs and goals is crucial. This means not only defending their legal rights but also ensuring the contract aligns with their business strategies and market conditions. It involves clear communication, understanding client priorities, and sometimes negotiating terms that offer the best advantage while maintaining fairness and legality.

In summary, mastering these skills ensures that contracts are not only legally sound but also strategically aligned with business goals, providing a foundation for strong and sustainable business relationships. This proactive skill set is vital in navigating the complexities of contract reviews, ensuring that all parties are clear on their commitments and responsibilities, thus preventing future conflicts and fostering trust.

Tools and Technologies for Efficient Contract Review

In today's business environment, efficiency in contract review is not just a luxury; it's a necessity. Leveraging the right tools and technologies can streamline the process, reduce errors, and save time. Here’s how different technologies play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of contract reviews:

Contract Automation

Contract automation software transforms the traditional contract process by automating repetitive tasks. This technology can generate contracts based on pre-set templates and rules, ensuring consistency and reducing the time spent on drafting. Automation tools also help in enforcing compliance with corporate standards and legal requirements without manual oversight.

In-browser Review

In-browser contract review platforms like Juro offer a seamless, flexible workflow. These platforms allow legal and business teams to collaborate in real-time, directly within a web browser. Users can make and review changes instantly, without the need to download or email documents. This immediate interaction speeds up the review process and enhances accuracy by maintaining all contract versions in one place.

Approval Workflows

Approval workflows are critical in ensuring that contracts undergo proper review and approval before finalization. Modern contract management platforms enable users to set up custom workflows that automatically route documents to the right stakeholders based on the contract type or value. This not only ensures compliance with internal protocols but also speeds up the process by eliminating unnecessary delays.

Contract Management Software

Contract management software is the backbone of efficient contract review processes. It acts as a central repository for all contract-related documents, making it easy to track and manage contracts throughout their lifecycle. Features such as automatic reminders for important dates, metadata tagging, and full-text search streamline management and oversight. Moreover, many contract management systems include analytics capabilities, providing insights into contract performance and risk areas.

By integrating these tools and technologies, businesses can significantly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of their contract review processes. Not only do they cut down on manual labor, but they also minimize the risk of errors and ensure faster contract turnaround times, which is crucial for maintaining competitive edge and compliance in today's business landscape.

Moving forward, it's essential for businesses to continually assess and adopt advanced tools that can further refine and expedite the contract review process. This proactive approach ensures that the contract management system evolves in alignment with changing business needs and technological advancements, sustaining operational efficiency and legal integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions about Contract Review

What is the purpose of a contract review meeting?

A contract review meeting is a focused discussion where all parties involved go through the contract together. The main goals are:

  • To ensure everyone understands the terms clearly. This is crucial to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to disputes.
  • To verify that all terms are fair and meet the legal standards. This helps protect all parties from potential legal issues.
  • To discuss and resolve any concerns or ambiguities. If something in the contract is unclear, this is the time to clarify it.
  • To make necessary adjustments. Sometimes, things need to be tweaked to better suit the needs of the parties involved.

This meeting is a key step in making sure that the contract is solid, fair, and clear before it is signed.

Is contract review a skill?

Yes, contract review is definitely a skill – and a valuable one at that! It involves critical thinking, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of legal concepts. Professionals who are good at contract review can spot potential issues that others might miss, understand complex legal language, and ensure that the contract protects their client's interests.

Developing this skill involves both formal education in law and practical experience in reviewing contracts. It’s like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it.

What is a contract review checklist?

A contract review checklist is a tool used to ensure that all important aspects of a contract are examined before it is finalized. Here’s what typically goes on a checklist:

  1. Identification of all parties involved: Making sure everyone is properly named and described.
  2. Clarity of terms: Checking that the language is clear and unambiguous.
  3. Compliance with laws: Ensuring the contract does not violate any laws.
  4. Obligations and rights: Clearly outlining what is expected of each party.
  5. Payment terms: Details about amounts, deadlines, and penalties for late payments.
  6. Termination conditions: How the contract can be ended by either party.
  7. Dispute resolution: How conflicts will be resolved, should they arise.
  8. Signatures: Ensuring all necessary parties have signed the contract.

Using a checklist helps prevent crucial elements from being overlooked and can save a lot of legal trouble down the line.

Moving forward, understanding these fundamentals of contract review not only prepares one to handle contracts more effectively but also highlights the importance of meticulous attention in legal documentation. This vigilance is essential for safeguarding business interests and fostering trustworthy professional relationships.


At KickSaaS Legal, we emphasize the critical importance of a thorough contract review. This process is not just a formality—it's a fundamental step that protects your business from potential legal and financial pitfalls. By ensuring that every clause and provision is meticulously examined, we help safeguard your interests and ensure that agreements are not only compliant but also aligned with your business goals.

Why is a thorough review so crucial? A detailed contract review minimizes the risk of disputes by clarifying terms and conditions before any commitments are made. It ensures all parties have a mutual understanding of their obligations and expectations, which in turn fosters stronger business relationships. Moreover, it helps identify any unfavorable terms that could put your business at risk, giving you the opportunity to negotiate better conditions before finalizing the agreement.

KickSaaS Legal is dedicated to making this process as streamlined and efficient as possible. Through our comprehensive contract review services, we provide not just expertise but also peace of mind. Our approach combines legal proficiency with advanced technology to deliver precise and rapid contract analyses. This means you can focus more on driving your business forward and less on navigating complex legal landscapes.

In conclusion, the role of contract review cannot be overstated. It's an essential safeguard, a strategic business practice, and a foundation for successful partnerships. At KickSaaS Legal, we are committed to ensuring that every contract you sign is clear, fair, and tailored to support your business's long-term success. Let us help you turn contractual agreements into opportunities for growth and innovation.

Back to blog