Just 35 percent of planners always have an attorney review all of their meeting contracts, according to a recent survey by M&C Research. Another 24 percent seek legal advice only for meetings above a certain size or dollar amount, while 41 percent never submit their documents to a lawyer.
Why skip legal oversight? The prevailing reason, cited by 59 percent of survey respondents, is that meeting planners feel comfortable reviewing contracts on their own. For 38 percent, legal fees simply are not in the budget. Other deterrents are short lead times (17 percent) and the lack of an in-house attorney (17 percent).
Another possible reason for eschewing a lawyer: 35 percent of respondents use their organization's own standardized meeting contracts, which often are vetted by an attorney when created.
Of those who do seek an attorney's expertise, 59 percent use in-house counsel, while 18 percent go to a general corporate lawyer outside their organization. Only 12 percent specifically retain a hospitality law specialist.
That doesn't mean planners aren't worried about meetings-related liability, however. In fact, 45 percent are very concerned, and another 50 percent are somewhat concerned. Just 5 percent have no such worries.
In reality, just 6 percent of respondents said they or their organizations have been sued over a meetings-related dispute. Three percent actually went to court to resolve the issue, while the other 3 percent were able to come to terms before the dispute went that far.