May 13, 2014
It is contract season for new fellows.
Regarding Letter of Intent (LOI): In what way does signing this obligate the prospective employee? What about the employer? How much do the specifics of the letter matter (terms, salary, benefits, partnership, etc.)? Should these things be negotiated at this stage, or wait until the contract stage?
Absolutely depends on the terms of the actual letter of intent. Typically that document will state whether it is binding or non-binding, which is very important. If binding, it would obligate both parties. Even if non-binding, the LOI serves to establish expectations on key terms, such as salary, and I do not recommend signing or accepting any LOI that has terms the prospective employee does not accept. Doing so will make negotiating later on much more difficult and uncomfortable. The employer will look to rely on the LOI. My recommendation is to skip the LOI stage entirely and request the employer provide the contract for review instead so that you may identify and address all issues at once. An employer may use an LOI to lock in the employee and create leverage at a later stage to say terms were accepted.
Also, you probably have ignored this advice before, but DO NOT ENGAGE OR SIGN ANYTHING UNTIL YOU REVIEW WITH A HEALTHCARE ATTORNEY. Our office does reviews for residents and fellows for a flat rate of $500, so you have no excuse not to have your contract reviewed. Failing to do so may result in you signing away your rights for the next x years and longer (with restrictions) without understanding what you are entering in to. Do not proceed without a review. Call or email me (516 747 6700 x. 302/Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com) or Erica (516 747 6700 x. 308/Eyoungerman@kirschenbaumesq.com) for assistance.
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