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How to Review a Commercial Lease: Overview

Introduction to Research Guide

PURPOSE

This research guide is for legal interns or practitioners who are new to reviewing commercial leases for their law firm. This guide facilitates access to helpful resources and provides a strategy for conducting research. To get started, watch a video to gain some understanding into commercial leases before looking at the instructions on how to review. 

Understanding Commercial Leases

How to Review a Commercial Lease: Step by Step Instructions

Commercial lease agreements are not one size fits all. There are long forms created by attorneys and then there are preprinted forms designed to be utilized by those who are not attorneys. 

Reviewing a standard form pre-printed contract with this guide:

  1. Read lease: the first to obtain a quick overview of your assigned lease. Review the lease agreement for glaring omissions, mistakes, or anything that appears strange. 
  2. Review the lease again carefully and in more detail. You will need to make comments on potential drafting changes that will ensure the final lease agreement meets your client's needs and expectations. The tabs in this guide can assist you in the following ways:
    • Terms + Samples: This tab will assist you in gaining a deeper understanding on lease provisions as you read the lease a second time. You will find resources that will provide you term definitions, explanations, and samples. 
    • Lease Comparisons: This tab provides resources in framing your lease review based on the type of lease you are working with. The resources provided will help you distinguish between commercial property types, lease agreements, and negotiating based on whether you represent the landlord or tenant. 
    • Resources: This tab provides you resources to help you continuously improve your skills such as toolkits and certifications. 

Reviewing a long-form attorney-drawn contract:

The steps for a long-form attorney-drawn contract are virtually the same as a short-form except these agreements are longer and less generic. They are more tailored to a specific location, such as the shopping complex the landlord owns, making them more detailed and generally with more exhibits. The process for reviewing attorney drawn contracts is longer due to the necessity for multiple rounds of exchanged drafting notes between both parties. 

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