I wrote a response (Below) and a New York attorney gave me a talking to. "We are lawyers here Bradley, not psychologists. The guy's initials all over the document and anyone who understands contract law will know that no court will interpret such a case as not having given assent. No one suggested that the matter be unnecessarily litigated if that can be avoided but the platitudes are more self-serving than practically helpful."
My response was something along the lines, as I have said in this blog many times, that lawyers are more than just living, breathing, legal books. We are many, many things including: negotiators, litigators, hired guns, researchers, advisors (lawyer who responded specifically has this on his Avvo profile).
Avoiding legal issues by doing things as a negotiator, which I say involves getting your way using the other side's constraints, is all part of being insightful to the other parties issues and pressure points, as he said it, 'a psychologist.'
I reached out to him 'offline' to discuss a little further and I got a nice "let's be friends" reply. More than anything I think he was looking at how many years I've been in practice as an attorney and he thought I was a 22 yr old taking older more experienced attorneys to school. I explained a little more of who I am and all is well.
Still fun to share!
"The previous three attorneys answered well in terms of what the law says. It is debatable if you are bound or not. They seem to all agree, I think from your facts it is unclear.
I try to answer questions from a little more practical position, as I started life as a businessman then jumped ship to law.
The questions I'd ask first is what are the dollar values at stake? What is the level of hostility between you and this party? Do you have to keep following this contract (in other words if the contract is a contract where you make orders as you need then just stop making orders)? Is this really a bad position of a negotiation or is it truly a legal matter?
Usually when people have contract sign regret there is a practical way to work through the problem. In the end business people usually rely on their reputations. It is more beneficial to work the problem considering cost/beneficial analysis than legal analysis. If you want to hire an attorney I'd try and find one who thinks this way instead of straight to law suit. As my mentor says a law suit is the ultimate failure of the parties and the lawyers.