I’ll say it again, note taking.
I really can’t emphasise it enough the importance of taking proper notes. A client came to see me last week about a deal that he was engaged in, and a contract which was entered into which was subsequently breached by the other side. Quite apart from the actual fact of the breach, there are now considerable arguments about what was agreed beforehand, terms and conditions, and sidebar agreements. Unfortunately my client doesn’t have sufficient notes to back this up. He has diary entries of when they met, and an idea in his head of what was said, but not detailed notes.
Without detailed notes made contemporaneously, that is made at the same time, it is going to be very difficult to demonstrate to a Court whose view is correct, and the weight which a Court would normally give to such notes is lost to my client.
This makes his case very difficult to bring home, but we can all learn a valuable lesson.
Keep good notes!
I would always recommend to my clients that if you are going to a meeting with somebody, have a rough agenda, with just the headers of the topics that you intend to discuss with them. After the meeting, use that agenda and those headers as the basis for forming your notes and keep a file note, whether just on your computer, or alternatively a hard copy file note which you check through and sign before putting it in back in the filing cabinet.
It can save you an awful lot of money in the long term and certainly would have saved my client had he taken more.