This chapter covers the basics of written contracts. In my experience, knowledge of the basics is not widespread amongst negotiators, who usually leave all contractual matters to professional lawyers. While it is always advisable to involve lawyers early and at every subsequent stage in a major negotiation, it is also an essential part of the strategic negotiator’s toolkit to have a working knowledge of what is involved in a written contract, just as a basic knowledge of human resources management, accountancy and finance, marketing and economics is deemed useful to manage at most middle and senior levels. Contracts summarize the distrust of each party of the other.