Preparing the first draft
The party that prepares the first draft of a
contract is commonly thought to have an advantage. That is probably true, as the
first draft sets the agenda for the negotiations and places the onus on the
opposing party for arguing for and justifying any substantive changes. However,
the advantage is generally short-lived, because in the end both parties must be
satisfied with the provisions of the agreement for a deal to be struck.
The negotiating team sets the parameters of the
agreement in the planning sessions, sometimes even before any preliminary
meetings. The parameters can then be refined as inputs from such meetings are
received. When the required and desirable provisions have been selected and the
draft has been reviewed and internally approved, it should be sent to the
prospect in sufficient time for that party to review it before a first
negotiation date is set.