Sample Engagement Agreement
We envision a world in which people consciously live to be of benefit to one another. This vision includes justice and business systems that foster individual and organizational creativity, and the implementation of collaborative, co-creative processes and instruments to facilitate dialogue, address conflict, make decisions, and support community.
Purpose of Agreement
The purpose of this agreement is to serve the needs of Client and Firm by facilitating opportunities for inspired creativity, non-violent communication, collaborative decision-making, benevolently addressing conflict, and conducting their affairs in ways that reflect their values and principles, and their vision for the world.
Guiding Values & Principles
We value respect, honesty, compassion, ethics, learning, open-mindedness, adaptability, kindness, and fun in our personal and professional endeavors. We believe the conscious pursuit of integrity is necessary for the creation of meaningful, sustainable relationships, effective legal representation, and beneficial business endeavors.
We value frank, forthcoming conversation spoken with kindness even when such communication is uncomfortable. We believe dialogue (communication utilizing active, empathetic listening) can facilitate understanding, learning, and altered perspective.
In all matters personal and professional, we strive to consider the axiom “erit bonum facere, et non nocere” – be of benefit and cause no harm.
Tenets of The Langford Firm, PLLC
In service of our Vision and Purpose of Agreement, we choose to practice in accordance with the following tenets:
Use of a collaborative, co-creative approach to relational dynamics that views parties to an agreement as “US” (rather than the adversarial approach of “US v. THEM ”) can beneficially affect the structure, systems, and culture of communities/relationships.
Working collaboratively as a team to design sustainable, enjoyable, productive relationships and enterprises is of greater benefit to the parties than approaching deal-making as an encounter between opponents with each trying to win an advantage over the other.
Fairness is a subjective matter of perspective, not an objective fact.
Responsibility is a recognition of cause and effect, not a determination of fault or blame.
Accountability is a matter of voluntary personal submission, not an imposed decree.
Conflict is a normal part of relational dynamics often revealing diversity of perspective, and addressing conflict in a restorative manner can result in improved understanding, collaborative decision-making, and peaceful, cohesive community.
Respect says more about the character of the person showing respect than that of the person to whom respect is shown.
Mistakes, failures, and being wrong can be constructive means of learning and growth.
We approach the role of attorney as that of legal counsel, guide, and facilitator, which includes providing information, analysis, and advice to clients to help ensure their actions comport with applicable law, and reflect and support their vision, values, and principles. We encourage clients to recognize their role in developing the structure, systems, and culture reflected in their organizations and agreements, and fully engage a collaborative, co-creative approach to agreement.
Statement of Agreement
Parties to the Agreement
This agreement is entered into by and between THE LANGFORD FIRM, PLLC, hereinafter referred to as “Firm,” and [CLIENT], hereinafter referred to as “Client” in connection with Firm’s role as attorney/guide/facilitator for Client in the following matter(s):
1. Non-litigious legal services.
It is contemplated that the services of Firm are to be an ongoing undertaking in connection with the matter for which Firm has been retained. It is especially recognized by Firm and Client that the matters involved may be sensitive and highly confidential. Firm and Client recognize that all communications shall be privileged and confidential except when, in the professional judgment of Firm, a disclosure will aid Client, or is required by law.
Firm will be reasonably available to converse about Client’s matters. It is important to Firm that Client stay informed about Client’s matters. Firm’s staff will not provide Client legal advice or conjecture unless so directed by Firm’s attorneys. Firm’s attorneys and staff will converse about the progress of work on Client’s matters with Client by phone, email, video conference, or in person. Firm’s attorneys/guides/facilitators will return Client’s phone calls and emails, and respond to requests for communication as soon as practicable. If Firm’s staff is unable to address Client’s questions or issues, the matter will be referred to Firm’s attorneys for attention.
An initial retainer of $_______ shall be placed with Firm for attorney/guide/facilitator services provided to Client related to the following matters:
Non-litigious legal services, i.e. Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Contract, Agreement, Business Organization, Trademark, Copyright, Mediation, Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™ facilitation, Document Review, Referral Services, etc.
Client’s retainer may be increased by Client if desired. It is agreed by Firm and Client that a receipt of payment of additional retainer to Firm by Client for the above referenced matters will constitute an agreed to amendment of this agreement by Firm and Client and will not otherwise alter or void the entire agreement or particular provisions of the agreement.
Legal services performed by Firm for Client will be billed in 1/10th hour increments (six minutes) at an hourly rate of $100.00 (One Hundred Dollars).
The retainer is to be applied to payment for attorney/guide/facilitator services provided by Firm and does not include expenses for transcripts, travel, court fees or court costs, filing fees, professional copying or printing, photographs, or other expenses Firm considers necessary to effectively provide attorney/guide/facilitator services to Client.
Firm and Client agree that Firm is not required by Client to hold in trust any prepayment or payment for services by Client, and that Firm may use any payment, prepayment, or retainer by Client without restriction as Firm desires.
Date of This Agreement and Termination
The date of the commencement of this agreement will be the date of the signatures of Firm and Client below. The agreement will continue in force until completion of the subject matter of this agreement or until the agreement is terminated by either Client or Firm. Termination requires no advance notice.
If Client decides to terminate this agreement, Client will promptly notify Firm via email. If Firm decides to terminate this agreement, Firm will promptly notify Client via email. In either case, email notification is considered notification in writing for the purpose of this Agreement. Client and Firm are each responsible for keeping the other up to date on their respective email addresses for this and all other notices.
Upon termination, Firm shall deliver to Client a final invoice for work done by Firm up to the time of termination for payment in accordance with the compensation provision of this Statement of Agreement. After payment of final invoice by Client, Firm shall deliver to Client all documentation (excluding work product) relevant to the subject matter of this agreement in whatever stage of completion it exists at the time of termination.
Change, Challenges, and Conflict
Client and Firm understand that one certainty in the lives of human beings is change. Client and Firm also agree that during the course of this agreement some of those changes may create challenges or result in conflict that affects the Client/Firm relationship and/or the purpose of this agreement. If Client and Firm experience disagreement, Client and Firm are committed to collaboratively and co-creatively working toward whatever transformation will best serve the needs of all.
If Client and Firm experience disagreement, Client and Firm each commit to dedicate their efforts towards re-establishing agreement as quickly as possible by engaging Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™1 , or other mutually agreed to dialogue2 process (in person, by telephone, or by video conference), in honest, open conversation in good faith, and with a commitment to addressing change, challenges, and conflict in a manner that accords with, and is in service of, the Vision, Purpose of Agreement, and Guiding Values & Principles espressed in the Foundation Statement.
If either Firm or Client feels the need to call an informal conversation for this purpose, Client or Firm will begin by providing to the other person a brief statement of the event/action/inaction that has triggered the request for the conversation, a statement of how and why the event/action/inaction appears to have substantially affected the relationship and/or the purpose of the agreement, and/or the Foundation Statement, and/or other terms of this Engagement Agreement, and suggest a time for the conversation.
Client and Firm will open any such conversation by first reading the following reminder:
The Foundation Statement in our Agreement expresses our core, underlying interests in connection with this Firm/Client relationship. They represent the vision(s) we hold that motivate us to perservere in our work, the mission(s) we are joining forces to accomplish, the principles, constraints, and imperatives that inform our decision-making, and the values with which we want to align all our actions.
The Foundation Statement is meant to serve as a reference point to orient and focus our conversations as we address change, challenges, and conflict that has affected our relationship and/or the purpose of this agreement.
Client and Firm will then read together the Foundation Statement included in this Engagement Agreement.
Client and Firm will focus our dialogue on brainstorming ways to bring ourselves and our actions back into alignment with the Foundation Statement that works for both of us, beginning by asking ourselves the following questions:
What do we most appreciate about the work we have done together so far?
Are there outside influences (or money) affecting how we are working together?
Does each of us feel we are receiving what we anticipated, is there something that is no longer working for one or both of us?
What has really worked well for us so far, how can we expand on it?
Is it time to redefine or redirect our work together?
Is there something difficult we are avoiding saying or doing?
What do we gain by continuing/ending this work together?
If Client and Firm find we are unable to address change, challenges, and conflict to our agreed satisfaction by informal conversation conducted in accordance with the Vision, Purpose of Agreement, and Guiding Values & Principles stated above, we agree to attempt to address any dispute, claim, or controversy arising out of, or relating to, the Agreement by participating in a facilitated Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™3, or another facilitated dialogue procedure upon which we may agree at that time.
Client and Firm further agree that our respective good faith participation in facilitated Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™, or another non-adversarial dialogue process, is a condition precedent (something we agree to do first) to pursuing any other available legal or equitable remedy, including litigation, arbitration, mediation, or other dispute resolution procedures.
Either Client or Firm may commence the dialogue process by providing to the other written notice, setting forth the subject of the dispute, claim, or controversy and the relief requested. Within ten (10) calendar days after the receipt of the foregoing notice, each recipient shall deliver a written response to the sender. The initial dialogue session shall be held within thirty
(30) calendar days after the initial notice.
We agree to share equally the costs and expenses of the Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™ formal dialogue, or similar process (which shall not include the expenses incurred by each party for its own legal representation in connnection with the facilitated dialogue).
We further acknowledge and agree that Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™, or other dialogue process, proceedings are settlement negotions, and, to the extent allowed by applicable law, all offers, promises, conduct, and statements, whether oral or written, made in the course of the mediation by any of the parties or our agents shall be confidential and inadmissible in any arbitration or other legal proceeding involving the parties; provided, however, that evidence, which is otherwise admissible or discoverable, shall not be rendered inadmissible or nondiscoverable as a result of its use in the dialogue process.
The provisions of the Changes, Challenges, and Conflict section shall survive termination of this Agreement and may be enforced by any Court of competent jurisdiction, and the party seeking enforcement shall be entitled to an award of all costs, fees, and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, to be paid by the party against whom enforcement is ordered.
This Agreement contains the entire understanding between Firm and Client. No promises, representation, or inducement, oral or written, have been made except as expressly set forth herein. This Agreement may be amended or modified only in writing signed by both Firm and Client.
Dedication and Acknowledgement
In this endeavor may we always act with integrity to ourselves and one another, may we have compassion and empathy for one another and the challenges we experience, may we engage one another with respect and kindness, and may we strive to be of benefit to one another and those affected by this agreement, and cause no harm.
By our signatures below, Firm and Client affirm the Agreement set out above represents our desires and is acceptable to both of us.
SIGNED BELOW AND AGREED to on this the day of , 2017.
Randy L. Langford
THE LANGFORD FIRM, PLLC
1In informal Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™, it is assumed the people in agreement are intelligent, able to work collaboratively with their co- creator, and capable of understanding one another’s situation and perspective. Accordingly, the people in agreement can address change, challenges, and conflict better than any judge or mediator.
2By “dialogue” we mean a person-to-person conversation that emphasizes active and empathetic listening with the intention not to refute but to comprehend and understand one another’s perspective with a willingness to allow our realities to be altered by what we hear.
3In facilitated Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™, the facilitator assumes the people in agreement are intelligent, able to work collaboratively with their co-creator, and capable of understanding their situations better than the facilitator and, perhaps, better than their lawyers. Accordingly, the people in agreement can address change, challenges, and conflict better than any judge or mediator. Thus, the facilitator’s principal mission is to facilitate the dialogue process and help the people in agreement clarify and enhance their communication through the sharing of their perspectives, and active and empathetic listening.
Click here to download a pdf of the Engagement Agreement.