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The Legal Paige Blog - Do my clients need to initial every clause?

Do My Clients Need to Initial Every Clause?

Are unsure whether your clients need to initial all the clauses in your contract? Not to worry, you came to the right place and we will get you ready for client initials and signatures in no time!


Initialing every clause is not legally necessary!

If you have ever made a big purchase like buying a house, a boat, land, or have executed a will you were probably presented with a long contract with a bazillion spots for you to initial. For extensive contracts initialing certain clauses is fairly common. The reason why lawyers sometimes want you to initial clauses is that they want to make sure you pay attention to what is being said and acknowledge that you have read that specific clause. Also, initialing pages or clauses is an old habit for lawyers and it’s taking a while to wane that commonplace practice.

To be clear, initialing clauses is NOT a legal requirement to have a properly executed contract. Especially now that contracts are executed online and the software timestamps and keeps records of the final copy. One of the main requirements to make a contract enforceable is the showing of an intent to enter into the contract. Usually, this is done through the signatures of both parties at the bottom. As long as you and your clients have signed the contract, you have done your duty to show that you and your clients intended to sign the contract.

Check out this blog regarding how to properly send your contracts to clients via email!


Emphasize the “MUST READ” clauses!

If you are sending clients your contract and want to make sure they have read an important contract clause then initialing a clause is a great way to do that.

Initialing clauses should be saved for those extra important clauses that you absolutely need your client to read.

  • If you are a photographer, this might be your cancellation clause and your meals and breaks clause.

  • If you’re an adventure photographer, this might be your assumption of risk clause.

  • If you are a bookkeeper maybe it is your request for documents clause. If you are a graphic designer, this might be your revisions clause.

Whatever your business is, you know your industry pain point and can determine which clauses you should potentially have your clients initial.

Another way to get your client's attention to important sentences or clauses in the contract is to put it in ALL CAPS and/or bold the font. For example, our travel advisory contract has quite a few sentences that are all in caps because it contains important disclaimers and information regarding traveling with minors, airline delays and cancellations, booking accuracy, that clients must read and understand.

Finally, when you send the contract to your clients make sure you are highlighting and explaining important contract clauses in your email when you send over the contract. We have a handy email template for you to use for you to send this email to clients for FREE here!


TLP’s Take

Although having your clients initial clauses is not necessary for your contract to be legally sound and executed, it can be helpful to you if the contract is ever seen by a court.

Ultimately, it is your client's burden to read the contract but being able to show a court that you emphasized certain sections and the clients acknowledged that they read the contract is just one more way you can protect yourself if there is ever a dispute. That way, they can’t claim, “I was not aware of that provision.”

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