Common elements of a partnership agreement checklist

An ABA model law firm partnership agreement includes elements in a partnership agreement checklist. The common elements of a partnership agreement checklist include:

  • One main elements of a partnership agreement checklist is the name of your business. At the start of your contract, you need to state your business name, its purpose, and the names of your partners. This ensures that each party will be held accountable for the terms and provisions of the contract.
  • Explain what your business does since it is a main element of a partnership agreement checklist Partners’ information. Providing all partner’s names and contact information is also an element of a partnership agreement checklist.
  • Capital contributions: Describe the capital such as money, assets, tangible items, and property that each partner provided. The preceding is a main element of a partnership agreement checklist Ownership interest is also an element of a partnership agreement checklist. Offer the specific percentage of the company that each partner owns.
  • Profit and loss distribution. Explain the percentage of profit and loss assigned to each partner and how the company will distribute revenue.
  • Management and voting. In providing for the elements of a partnership agreement checklist, outline how the partners will manage the company by delineating individual responsibilities in addition to explaining decision-making and voting between partners.
  • Adding or removing partners. Create specific guidelines for adding new partners, removing partners who want to leave, and removing partners who don’t want to leave. Such is a key element of a partnership agreement checklist.
  • Describe how you’ll liquidate the business and share out any profits should the company dissolve as an element of a partnership agreement checklist.
  • Partnership tax elections. Assign a partnership representative to manage all tax communications.
  • Death or disability. Provide clear instructions for how each partner’s ownership in the company should be liquidated or redistributed in the unlikely event of their death or disability.

Other elements of a partnership agreement checklist

Other elements of a partnership agreement checklist contained in the ABA model law firm partnership agreement include:

  • Allocations – profits and losses

It’s crucial for your contract to state how the profits and losses of the business will be allocated to each partner. This can include how much each will be paid or how losses will be distributed based on the investment. The preceding is a key element of a partnership agreement checklist

  • Ownership

All business partnership contracts should include an outline of how the ownership of the company is divided as a significant element of a partnership agreement checklist. It should also include different scenarios that would influence the division of ownership. For example, how will ownership be divided if a partner wants out or if the company needs to be sold?


If you want to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, you should set up a decision-making structure in your contract. Ideally, each partner should be able to make decisions based on how much they invested in the company. Setting a foundation for authority before decisions need to be made can prevent future arguments.

  • Contribution

Contribution is also a significant element of a partnership agreement checklist. In case of later disagreement, you want to ensure that each partner’s financial contribution is written into your contract. This is because you may not remember the amount each member invested upon start-up, which could pose an issue when dividing out labor, profits, and losses.

  • Workload

Division of work between partners is one of the most common causes for disagreements in joint business ventures hence a key element of a partnership agreement checklist. Therefore, it’s critical to get this sorted out before you start your company operations. Your agreement should clearly state what each partner will do and who is responsible for what business decisions.

  • Compensation

The primary goal of any business is to make a profit, but how will these profits be paid out to each partner? And where do you draw the line between income and profits? These are important things to consider in your agreement. That way, you can ensure that each individual is fairly compensated for their efforts.

  • Dispute Resolution

Many partners prefer not to think about disputes until they become an issue hence an element of a partnership agreement checklist. However, this can lead to significant problems, including litigation and even business failure. One of the easiest ways to resolve disputes is by turning them over to a predetermined mediator. Another method is to use your business advisory board to give you the best advice on what to do in the situation. Whatever you choose, it’s crucial to ensure it’s written into your contract.

  • Death

Death is also one of the key elements of a partnership agreement checklist. Making arrangements in case of a partner’s death ahead of time may be the difference in your business continuing or collapsing. This means that your contract should include a buyout agreement that specifies what happens in terms of business owners if a partner cannot continue running the company.

  • New Partners

New partners can arise due to a variety of circumstances, including the death of a partner, someone dropping out of the partnership, or you finding someone interested in investing in your company. The aspects relating to the admission or otherwise of new partners is a significant element of a partnership agreement checklist. This is why you should state what you will do if new partners join the business in your agreement. How will they be paid?

Extra element of a partnership agreement checklist

When partners enter into a business partnership, they probably aren’t thinking about all the ways that things could go wrong. At this stage, most entrepreneurs are more focused on launching their operations than the day-to-day mechanics that come with owning a partnership. Still, you should absolutely draw up a Business Partnership Agreement between yourself and your partners. It’s an important document for any partnership. No matter your industry or goals, there are a few key provisions that everyone will want to include in their agreements. Such are key element of a partnership agreement checklist. They include:

  1. Ownership

One of the first things that any Partnership Agreement should address is the percentage of ownership that each partner has in the company hence a significant element of a partnership agreement checklist. Most typically, this is based on each partner’s contribution to the company, which should be similarly recorded. A partner can contribute more than just financially – they can contribute equipment, intellectual property, and other things of value as well. This can even include “sweat equity,” which refers to the work, labor, and effort that a partner invests to get the company up and running.

  1. Splitting of losses and profits

Next, you’ll need to decide on how the profits and losses will be divided. By default, this is based on the partner’s percentage of ownership in the business. If you want a different arrangement, say an equal split regardless of ownership interest, then you will need to include that provision in your Partnership Agreement. You’ll also want your Agreement to note if the partners will be allowed to take “draws.” Similar to a paycheck, a draw is an advance payment of the profits made to the partner on a regular basis with no withholding requirements.

  1. Partners that have binding authority in an ABA model law firm partnership agreement

“Binding authority” is the ability of a partner to make contractual commitments on behalf of the company without first consulting the other partners. Unless stated otherwise in your Partnership Agreement, all partners will have binding authority. This can leave you financially and legally liable should one of your partners make a bad call. If your partners don’t always demonstrate the best judgement, then it might be smart to limit this authority.

  1. What is the decision-making process like?

Next to money, feeling left out or ignored during the decision-making process is one of the fastest ways for resentment to grow within a partnership. After all, even the best teams will clash and disagree from time to time. A good partnership agreement checklist lays out procedures that help to avoid gridlock and full-on arguments. They accomplish this by standardizing the decision-making process and creating contingencies for when the partners are unable to come to an agreement. This is critical to running a successful partnership.

  1. Termination of partnership

It’s easy to imagine your partnership lasting forever when you first start out. But things are bound to change as your business grows. Even the closest partners can grow estranged and bitter over the course of their relationship. Sometimes a partner grows tired with their status quo and wants to break out in a new direction. No matter how good things might seem at the beginning, your Business Partnership Agreement should have a procedure for dissociating from the company. Typically, this is done with a Buy/Sell Agreement. It might be unpleasant, but you should also consider what to do in case of the death of a partner. Thus, the steps of termination are an important element of a partnership agreement checklist.

  1. Does your business partnership agreement include provisions for irreconcilable differences?

A business partnership agreement exists to guide you, your partners, and your business through the worst of times, and few times are worse than when the relationship between two or more partners disintegrates beyond repair. These are conflicts that are much more serious than a typical argument. Sometimes this can even lead to litigation. Requiring partners to enter mediation before taking things to court can save everyone a lot of time, money, and energy.

Other Essential Provisions of a Partnership agreement checklist

  1. The Partners’ Voting Rights

A typical ABA model law firm partnership agreement is keen to highlight the firm’s voting system. There exist two main voting systems which are the weighted voting and per capita voting. The weighted voting system is complex, requires well-defined rules and voting rights are dependent on a partner’s experience. On the other hand, the per-capita voting system is more common. It entails having one vote for each partner. It also comprises the rule that the majority wins.

  1. Sharing of Profits

A good ABA model law firm partnership agreement should also include the mode of sharing of profits among the partners. The preceding will aid in preventing likely disputes among the partners.

  • Retirement

This section of an ABA model law firm partnership agreement defines the retirement options available. It also outlines the age and manner of raising funds of the retirees. A certain age is set for compulsory retirement but there are numerous exceptions. It is greatly recommended that all partnership agreements should include the compulsory retirement clause.

  1. Death and Disability

The preceding section of an ABA model law firm partnership agreement ought to be informative. It should also outline what is in the best interest of the firm. However, it should strike a balance in the determination of compensation rights. There should also be a determination of the permanent and temporary disability distinction, some compensation rights, ad a cut-off point. The majority of the partnership agreements try to circumvent the section. Hence, they offer full or partial compensation for a while.

  1. Withdrawal of Partners

A ABA model law firm partnership agreement should include the procedure and policies to be followed. The preceding applies to when a partner desires to opt out of the law firm. Partnership agreements offer financial disincentives to avoid the loss of capital. This is especially when a partner decides to leave the firm. Some of the benefits of financial disincentives include motivating employees to stay longer, decreasing financial risks and safeguarding clients.

  1. Expulsion of Partners

An ABA model law firm partnership agreement should also include a section that is open to everyone. Hence people are allowed to ask endless questions in relation to termination. The aspect of expulsion safeguards the law firm during crisis. This section of the partnership agreement entails how the law firm handles problematic partners. Such include those that are unproductive and have been disbarred.


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