AI Review for Consulting Services Agreements

Learn how integrating AI contract review into your Consulting Services Agreements can improve your contract negotiation, ensuring clarity, precision, and mutual understanding.


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What is a Consulting Services Agreement?

A Consulting Services Agreement is a legal contract between a consultant (an individual or a company) and a client (the company hiring the consultant). The agreement outlines the terms and conditions under which the consultant will provide their services to the client. It is an essential tool for defining the relationship between the two entities, setting expectations, protecting rights, managing risks, and preventing disputes.

Consulting Services Agreements are widely used across various industries, including management consulting, information technology and software, marketing and advertising, human resources, engineering and architecture, finance and accounting, healthcare, and environmental consulting. LegalOn's Consulting Services Agreement is particularly geared towards management consulting businesses.

Why Use a Consulting Services Agreement?

There are several key reasons why businesses should use Consulting Services Agreements:

  1. Scope of Services: One of the primary purposes of a Consulting Services Agreement is to clearly define the scope of services to be provided. While LegalOn has not switched on alerts for "Scope of the Services," due to the customized nature of that language, it is essential to mention to customers that including the scope is crucial in this type of agreement. The scope specifies the tasks to be performed, the timeline for completion, the expected outcomes, and any performance standards that need to be met. It helps both the client and the consultant understand their responsibilities and obligations during the term of the agreement.
  2. Payment Terms: The agreement sets out how much the consultant will be paid, how often, and under what conditions. It provides the consultant with a clear understanding of its remuneration and assures them of their due compensation for the services rendered. The client can budget appropriately, reducing the risk of financial disputes later.
  3. Confidentiality and Intellectual Property: A Consulting Services Agreement is crucial for protecting confidential information and establishing intellectual property rights. Consultants often have access to sensitive business information, and a confidentiality clause can help protect this information from unauthorized disclosure or misuse. The agreement can also define who owns any new intellectual property created during the consulting relationship.
  4. Subcontracting: The agreement may stipulate the conditions under which the consultant can subcontract work to others, including potential requirements for client approval. This is important because the client may have concerns about the quality of work and the qualifications of the subcontractor, as well as potential risks to the client's information security if the subcontractor doesn't adhere to the same confidentiality or data security standards.
  5. Assignment of Personnel: Control over the assignment of personnel is a crucial aspect of the agreement. The consultant's personnel may be explicitly stated in the contract, especially when their skills, qualifications, or relationships are key factors in the client's decision to engage the consultant. The agreement may also outline conditions under which personnel may be replaced and may require that the client is notified or gives approval before any changes in personnel are made.

What Should Be Included in a Consulting Services Agreement?

The top provisions to consider in a Consulting Services Agreement are:

  1. Confidentiality / New & Existing Intellectual Property: The confidentiality clause protects any sensitive information the client shares with the consultant during their work together. It typically requires the consultant not to disclose or use such information except as necessary to provide the agreed-upon consulting services. The new IP clause determines who owns the rights to the work product created by the consultant. This might vary based on the specifics of the agreement and the type of work, but often the work product is owned by the client. A clause on existing IP should also be included, stating that each party typically retains ownership of their existing IP. The agreement might grant the other party a license to use existing IP as necessary for the purpose of the consulting work, but it usually doesn't transfer ownership.
  2. Subcontracting: The client may have hired a specific consultant because of their unique skills, qualifications, or reputation. If the consultant then subcontracts the work to another party, the client might have concerns about the quality of work and the qualifications of the subcontractor. Additionally, if the client shares sensitive information with the consultant under the terms of the agreement, there may be risks to the client's information security if the subcontractor doesn't adhere to the same confidentiality or data security standards.
  3. Assignment of Personnel: The client might have hired the consultant because of the specific skills, qualifications, or reputation of their personnel. If different personnel are assigned, it could impact the quality of the work. A clause addressing this can ensure that only suitable personnel are assigned to the project. If the client has a good working relationship with specific personnel or trusts them for other reasons, they might want those individuals to be involved in the project. This can be especially important for sensitive or high-stakes projects.

In addition to these top provisions, a comprehensive Consulting Services Agreement should also include:

  1. Scope of Services: As mentioned earlier, clearly defining the scope of services is crucial. This includes the specific tasks to be performed, deliverables, timelines, and any performance standards or metrics.
  2. Compensation: Specify the consultant's fees, expenses, and any other compensation. Include details on invoicing and payment terms.
  3. Term and Termination: Define the duration of the agreement and the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract. Include provisions for termination for convenience, termination for cause (e.g., breach of contract), and the consequences of termination.
  4. Limitation of Liability: Outline the extent of each party's liability in case of any issues or damages arising from the consulting services. Include any caps on liability and exclusions for certain types of damages (e.g., indirect, incidental, or consequential damages).
  5. Indemnification: Include provisions that require each party to defend and hold the other harmless from third-party claims arising from their actions or inactions under the agreement.
  6. Insurance: Specify any insurance requirements for the consultant, such as professional liability insurance or general liability insurance.
  7. Governing Law and Dispute Resolution: Specify the jurisdiction whose laws will govern the interpretation and enforcement of the agreement. Outline the process for resolving disputes, which may include informal negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation.

Checklist for a Good Consulting Services Agreement

To ensure that your Consulting Services Agreement is effective, comprehensive, and legally sound, use this checklist:

  •  Clearly define the scope of services
  •  Include confidentiality, new IP, and existing IP clauses
  •  Address subcontracting rights and limitations
  •  Specify assignment of personnel provisions
  •  Detail compensation and payment terms
  •  Define the term and termination conditions
  •  Outline limitations of liability
  •  Include indemnification provisions
  •  Specify insurance requirements
  •  Include governing law and dispute resolution procedures
  •  Ensure the agreement is reviewed and approved by legal counsel
  •  Obtain signatures from authorized representatives of both parties
  •  Securely store executed copies of the agreement

AI Contract Review for Consulting Services Agreements

To give you a sense for the benefits of leveraging contract review ai software trained by lawyers, we’ve selected some sample language our software presents to customers during a review. Keep in mind that these are static in this overview, but dynamic in our software - meaning our AI identifies the key issues and proactively surfaces alerts based on importance level and position (company, 3rd party, or neutral) and provides suggested revisions that mimic the style of the contract and align with party names and defined terms.

These samples represent a small sample of the pre-built, pre-trained AI Contract Review solution for Consulting Services Agreements. If you’d like to see more, we invite you to book a demo..


For: Client

Alert: May include a clause that grants ownership of intellectual property arising from the services to the consultant.

Guidance: Addressing the ownership and assignment of IP rights that arise from the services provided is of utmost importance. To guarantee the client's full control and rights over the IP generated by the consultant, it is advisable to incorporate an amendment in the agreement that explicitly assigns ownership of any intellectual property to the client.

This recommendation is crucial as it helps avert potential disputes and misunderstandings between the parties concerning IP ownership and usage. By clearly outlining IP ownership, the client's interests are safeguarded, and they can fully utilize and benefit from the consultant's work.

For example, when a company engages a consultant to develop a software application, the proposed suggestion would grant the company ownership of the intellectual property related to the software, allowing unrestricted use, modification, and distribution without potential claims from the consultant.

Relevant statutes or laws to consider include the U.S. Copyright Act, the Patent Act, and the Lanham Act, which govern copyrights, patents, and trademarks, respectively. State laws governing trade secrets and contractual provisions related to IP assignment may also be relevant. Legal counsel should be consulted to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

It is essential to note the "work made for hire" doctrine, which differentiates between employees and independent contractors. If the consultant is an independent contractor and the work does not fall within specified categories, the parties must include an explicit assignment clause in the Consulting Services Agreement to transfer the IP rights from the consultant to the client.

Sample Language:


1. Any patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, utility model rights, design rights, or other intellectual property rights in any work product arising during the performance of the Services (collectively, the “New Intellectual Property”) will belong to CLIENT.

2. CONSULTANT hereby irrevocably assigns or transfers to CLIENT, for no additional consideration, all its rights, title, and interest on the New Intellectual Property and CLIENT shall have the right to use the New Intellectual Property perpetually and, in any manner, suitable to CLIENT.

3. If a third-party’s intellectual property is incorporated in the New Intellectual Property, or required for the usage of the New Intellectual Property, CONSULTANT shall, at CONSULTANT’s expense, obtain and provide to CLIENT any and all required relevant licenses.


For: Both

Alert: May be missing a clause regarding an exception to disclosure of confidential information as required by law or administrative authority.

Guidance: "Addressing the protection and management of confidential information is essential. One critical aspect to consider is incorporating an exception for compelled disclosure, which permits parties to disclose confidential information when mandated by applicable laws, regulations, or orders from courts or administrative authorities.

This exception strikes a balance between the need for confidentiality and the obligation to comply with legal requirements. It ensures that parties are not in breach of the agreement when legally obligated to disclose specific information, such as in response to a subpoena or compliance with a government investigation.

For example, if a consultant working with sensitive financial data receives a court subpoena requiring the disclosure of particular financial records related to the client, the compelled disclosure provision would allow the consultant to disclose the required information without violating the confidentiality obligations under the Consulting Services Agreement.

Relevant statutes or laws to consider in this context include the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and any applicable state or local laws governing the disclosure of confidential information. By including a compelled disclosure provision in the Consulting Services Agreement, parties can ensure that they adhere to the law while maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive information to the greatest extent possible.

Sample Language:


[Pattern 1]

1. In this Agreement, “Confidential Information” shall mean any and all information, tangible or intangible, which is non-public, secret, proprietary, or confidential in nature, including but not limited to any trade secrets, and is disclosed by the Party (the “Disclosing Party”) to the other Party (the “Receiving Party”) in connection with the purpose of this Agreement, provided that (a) such information provided in physical or digital manner is clearly identified as “confidential,” “proprietary,” or labeled with other similar legends at the time of such disclosure; or (b) such information provided orally, visually, or in other intangible manner is identified as confidential at the time of disclosure and the Disclosing Party provides a written summary of such disclosure to the Receiving Party within thirty (30) days from such disclosure. Information identified as confidential by the Disclosing Party at the time of disclosure, pursuant to (b) above, shall be treated as Confidential Information by the Receiving Party for thirty (30) days from such disclosure so as to provide the Disclosing Party with an opportunity to provide the written summary of said disclosure to the Receiving Party. If the Disclosing Party provides any tangible object, such as [●●] that is difficult to identify or labeled as “confidential”, “proprietary” or other similar legends, such tangible objects shall be treated as Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information.

2. Confidential Information shall not include the following information:

any information that was already known to the Receiving Party before the disclosure by the Disclosing Party;

any information that is available to the public through no fault of the Receiving Party;

any information that was disclosed to the Receiving Party by a third-party having a right to disclose such Confidential Information without breaching any obligation to the Disclosing Party; or

any information that was independently developed by the Receiving Party without the use of the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information.

3. The Receiving Party shall keep the Confidential Information strictly confidential and shall only use the Confidential Information solely for the furtherance of the purpose of this Agreement.

4. The Receiving Party may disclose the Confidential Information to its directors, officers, employees, attorneys, accountants, tax advisors, or other advisors[ and its Affiliate(s)] (collectively, the “Representatives”) who have a need to know for furthering the Purpose. The Receiving Party shall impose the same degree of obligations stipulated under this section on its Representatives. If any Representative in possession of the Confidential Information breaches any obligation under this section, it shall be deemed that the Receiving Party has breached its obligations under this Agreement.

5. The Receiving Party shall protect the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information from unauthorized use, access, or disclosure with, at a minimum, the same degree of care that the Receiving Party uses to protect its own confidential information, but in no event less than a reasonable degree of care.

6. The Receiving Party may disclose the Confidential Information to courts or administrative authorities to the extent necessary to comply with applicable laws, regulations, or orders of courts or administrative authorities; provided, however, that the Receiving Party shall use reasonable endeavors to provide the Disclosing Party notice of the disclosure before such disclosure so that the Disclosing Party may engage in a protective order. In complying with such legally mandated disclosures, the Receiving Party shall furnish only that portion of the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information that is legally required for such laws, regulations, or orders.

7. Upon written request of the Disclosing Party, either during the Term or upon termination or expiration of this Agreement, the Receiving Party shall (a) return or destroy all copies, written documents, electronic files, materials, and any other medium, whether tangible or intangible, that contains parts or the entirety of the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information, and (b) certify in writing to the Disclosing Party that the Receiving Party has returned or destroyed all such materials containing the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, the Receiving Party is permitted to retain (a) copies of the Confidential Information to the extent required by applicable laws or regulations, and (b) copies of the Confidential Information automatically stored in electronic form by automated electronic backup systems (including disaster recovery systems) used by the Receiving Party in its ordinary course of business, so long as such copies are not readily accessible by the Receiving Party's employees. The confidentiality obligations established under this section shall continue to apply to the copies of the Disclosing Party's Confidential Information which are retained pursuant to the aforementioned exceptions.

8. The Receiving Party acknowledges that any misappropriation of any Confidential Information due to a breach of this section may cause the Disclosing Party irreparable harm, the amount of which may be difficult to ascertain. Therefore, Parties agree that, in the event of a breach or threatened breach of this section, the Disclosing Party shall be entitled to an injunction or other equitable remedies including, but not limited to, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and specific performance.

9. Obligations under this confidentiality provision shall survive for [●●] year[s] after the termination or expiration of this Agreement.

[Pattern 2]

[Pattern 3]



The Parties acknowledge that they have previously entered into a Non-Disclosure Agreement dated [insert date] with respect to the protection of Confidential Information disclosed or received by the [Parties] (the ""NDA""). The [Parties] hereby agree that the terms and conditions of the NDA shall remain in full force and effect and shall apply to any Confidential Information exchanged or accessed by the [Parties] under this Agreement. Any breach of the NDA with respect to the Confidential Information exchanged or accessed pursuant to this Agreement shall also be deemed a breach of this Agreement.


For: Both

Alert: May be missing a clause regarding termination due to breach.

Guidance: It is recommended to incorporate a termination clause that permits either party to terminate the agreement if the other party breaches its obligations. This provision safeguards the interests of both parties and provides legal recourse if one party fails to fulfill their duties under the agreement. It also fosters accountability and encourages compliance with the agreement's terms.

For example, if a company engages a consultant for marketing services and the consultant neglects to submit mandatory monthly progress reports, the company can invoke the termination clause due to the consultant's breach of the agreement. This action would shield the company from further losses or damages.

General contract law principles are applicable to termination clauses in Consulting Services Agreements. Moreover, it is crucial to ensure that the termination clause adheres to any pertinent industry-specific regulations and guidelines.

Sample Language:


Either Party may immediately terminate this Agreement by giving written notice to the other Party if any of the following termination events occur:

(a) if the other Party has breached any of its obligations set forth in this Agreement or has failed to cure such breach within [●●] days after the non-breaching Party issued a notice to cure the breach;

(b) if all or a part of the obligations of the other Party have been frustrated; provided, however, that in the case that a part of the obligations of the other Party has been frustrated, this Agreement may be terminated only to the extent of such frustrated part;

(c) if competent authorities have rendered any decisions for the revocation or the suspension of business of the other Party;

(d) if any payments of the other Party have been suspended or been unable to be processed, or any bank transactions by the other Party have been suspended;

(e) if any proceeding for seizure, provisional seizure, provisional disposition, or any other compulsory execution by any third party, or auction by exercise of security by any third party, a disposition for delinquency of taxes, or any other similar proceeding against the other Party has been filed or commenced;

(f) if any proceeding for bankruptcy, rehabilitation, liquidation, or any other similar proceeding against the other Party has been filed or commenced;

(g) if a resolution for merger, company split (demerger), or transfer of business by the other Party has been made; or

(h) if any event similar to any of the preceding items or any other material event that makes it difficult to continue this Agreement has occurred.

Best Practices for Using Consulting Services Agreements

To make the most of your Consulting Services Agreements and ensure their effectiveness, follow these best practices:

  1. Be detailed and specific: Clearly outline the scope of services, deliverables, timelines, and performance standards. The more detailed and specific your agreement is, the less room there is for misunderstandings or disputes.
  2. Tailor the agreement to the engagement: While templates can be a helpful starting point, it's essential to customize your Consulting Services Agreement to fit the specific needs of the consulting engagement. Consider the unique aspects of the services being provided and ensure that the agreement addresses them adequately.
  3. Negotiate fairly: Approach the agreement as a collaborative effort, seeking to create a balanced contract that meets the needs and protects the interests of both parties. Be open to negotiations and willing to compromise where appropriate.
  4. Communicate openly: Encourage open communication throughout the contracting process and during the consulting engagement. Regular check-ins and status updates can help identify and address any issues or concerns early on.
  5. Review and update regularly: As the consulting engagement progresses and circumstances change, the agreement may need to be updated. Schedule regular reviews of the agreement to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.
  6. Keep records: Maintain accurate records of all work performed, deliverables provided, and payments made under the agreement. This documentation can be invaluable in case of any disputes or misunderstandings.


Consulting Services Agreements are vital for establishing clear expectations, protecting rights, and managing risks in consulting engagements. By including essential provisions such as scope of services, confidentiality, intellectual property rights, subcontracting, assignment of personnel, compensation, termination, liability, indemnification, insurance, and dispute resolution, these agreements create a strong foundation for successful consulting relationships.

To ensure the effectiveness of your Consulting Services Agreements, it's important to be detailed and specific, tailor the agreement to the specific engagement, negotiate fairly, communicate openly, review and update regularly, and keep accurate records.

By investing time and effort into crafting comprehensive and balanced Consulting Services Agreements, consultants and clients can foster trust, mitigate risks, and set the stage for mutually beneficial and productive consulting engagements.

Our guides are for informational purposes only. Such information is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or an up-to-date representation of LegalOn's legal content. Nor is the information tailored to the unique needs or objectives that accompany each transaction. For legal advice for a specific problem, you should consult an attorney licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction for each transaction.

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