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For new clients, a legal assistant or other staff member in our firm will intake your case information. If additional information is required to determine if we can assist you with your case, we may offer a free consultation by an attorney to gather more information. A free consultation typically does not include legal advice, is offered only in our sole and absolute discretion, and does not mean that you have retained our firm as legal counsel. Only a written document provided to you by our firm describing our representation and executed by a managing attorney at our firm will establish an agreement by our firm to provide you legal services.
Many legal disputes arise out of and are resolved by contracts. A contract in its most primitive form is simply a legally enforceable agreement. In the area of law, for a contract to be legally enforceable, several requirements must be met including an offer; acceptance of that offer; mutual understanding of the agreement; capacity to enter into the agreement; an item or service; consideration in exchange for the item or service; and legality of the contract itself, including its terms, provisions, and type of consideration, item and service being exchanged.

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Virginia Blue Pencil Rule

It is extremely important to consult a skilled contract attorney when drafting, reviewing, or negotiating a contract as not all agreements are legally enforceable. This is especially important in Virginia as case law has shown that Virginia Courts refuse to “blue pencil” contracts. The “Blue Pencil Rule” permits a court to modify an otherwise unenforceable provision in a contract, usually a restrictive covenant, to make it reasonable.

Many contracts contain a severing provision in its miscellaneous or general terms section. Blue penciling is different from a severing provision in a contract. Severing allows the complete removal of an unenforceable provision from a contract which is otherwise legally enforceable, while blue penciling provides the court the power to rewrite invalid language in a contract to make it enforceable. However, as Virginia does not permit blue penciling, drafters cannot rely on the courts to correct errors or oversights made while drafting an agreement to make their unenforceable language enforceable.

For more information regarding Virginia contract law, please see Virginia Contract Law Blog, Types of Contracts, Contract and Legal Document Drafting, Reviewing and Editing Contracts, Collaborating on Business Agreements and Disputes, Negotiating Contract Terms, Provisions, and Agreements, and Business Litigation.

Free Business Contract Consultation

To see if you qualify for a free business contract consultation, please call the Northern Virginia contract lawyers McClanahan Powers at 703-546-8594. Or, to send an e-mail, please complete and submit the online form on this website. Flexible appointment times and payment options are available.