February 25, 2016
A prospective employer gave me a letter of intent.The document says "non binding". Any down side to me signing?
Not much good can come from signing a letter of intent if that document does not cover all of the terms of the arrangement and document acceptable terms from your viewpoint. Reason being, the fine print of the actual contract will likely be more draconian then the letter of intent, and potentially work against certain promises in the letter of intent drafted to hook you. For instance, the letter of intent may say the employer will pay for your malpractice insurance; the contract may say the employer will pay for your malpractice insurance, except if you are fired for cause or if you quite without cause, in which case you are paying for tail coverage, if required.
Signing a letter of intent, while potentially non-binding, does set a precedent of where you stand on key terms. As the employee, you likely have less leverage than the employer in negotiations - your ace in the whole being you don't have to take the job (hopefully). Signing the letter of intent may just serve to work against you as to the "intention of the parties" when the contract actually comes down the pike. My advice, if you can, skip the letter of intent, and head straight to the contract.