Let’s Make a Deal


“First, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Shakespeare has one of his characters In King Henry VI, Part 2, pronounce that this would be one of the steps necessary to improve life for the common man. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I do suggest that the legal profession often plays too prominent a role in the economic development process.  This role too often focuses on defending the interests on the one paying the lawyers’ fees rather than finding ways in which equitable and constructive agreements can be reached to serve as the basis for forward looking activities that will benefit all parties.

This post deals with various types of agreements and the role they play in the economic development process.  I try to avoid use of the term “contracting” because it conjures up visions of endless negotiations and enormous documents stuffed with impenetrable language aimed at satisfying lawyers that the dominant party in a relationship, usually the donor, is protected from all possible harm.   

Examples are drawn from a number of different types of projects from my own experience to illustrate how I have found the process of reaching equitable agreements can, in itself, be a positive development tool. 

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