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A Cookie Cutter Approach To Foreign Contracts


Information Processing

A COOKIE-CUTTER APPROACH TO FOREIGN CONTRACTS

Ready for legal advice in a box? As Boston lawyer Kenneth H. Slade sees it, U.S. companies too often fail to seek legal advice when setting up overseas. As senior partner at Hale and Dorr, Slade says he has often had to settle wrangles that could have been avoided with a little groundwork. So he developed an expert system--software that can make decisions based on human knowledge of a subject--that simplifies routine international distribution, sales, and licensing agreements.

For a $1,500 fee, Hale and Dorr will prepare such routine agreements using Slade's system. By filling out a detailed questionnaire, clients will receive a custom contract that's binding in 35 countries including Germany, Japan, and Taiwan. The cost is less than half the firm's normal fee. But Slade says companies should use the savings to pay for a review by a foreign firm--and avoid untidy disputes later.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG


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