AI Review for Letters of Intent (LOIs)

Learn how integrating AI contract review into your Letters of Intent (LOIs) can improve your contract negotiation, ensuring clarity, precision, and mutual understanding.

What is a Letter of Intent?

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a preliminary document that outlines the basic terms and conditions of a proposed deal before the parties enter into a formal agreement. The primary purpose of an LOI is to clarify the intentions, expectations, and fundamental structure of the deal, ensuring that both parties are on the same page before investing significant time and resources into detailed negotiations and contract drafting.

LOIs are widely used across various industries, each with its specific requirements and objectives. Some common applications include:

  • Real Estate: Initiating property purchases or leases
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Outlining preliminary terms of business sales or partnerships
  • Technology and Startups: Facilitating investment, collaboration, or licensing agreements
  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain: Securing supply agreements or joint ventures

While the specific content of an LOI may vary depending on the industry and nature of the transaction, the primary purpose remains consistent: to define the basic terms of a deal, demonstrate mutual commitment to the transaction, and provide a framework for detailed negotiations, thereby minimizing misunderstandings and streamlining the process towards a formal agreement.

Why Use a Letter of Intent?

There are several key reasons why businesses should consider using LOIs:

  1. Clarification of Intentions and Expectations: An LOI helps to clarify the intentions, expectations, and the fundamental structure of the deal, ensuring both parties are on the same page. This alignment of understanding is crucial for preventing misunderstandings and conflicts down the line.
  2. Framework for Negotiations: The LOI serves as a framework for future detailed negotiations and formal contract drafting. By laying down the groundwork, an LOI makes the negotiation process more efficient and focused.
  3. Confidentiality Protection: LOIs often include binding clauses like confidentiality agreements to protect sensitive information shared during negotiations. This is particularly important when dealing with proprietary business information, trade secrets, or intellectual property.
  4. Exclusivity and Competitive Advantage: LOIs may also contain exclusivity or "no-shop" clauses, preventing parties from negotiating with others for a specified period. This can be crucial for maintaining competitive advantage, especially in highly competitive industries or when dealing with unique assets or opportunities.
  5. Demonstration of Commitment: Signing an LOI demonstrates a level of commitment and seriousness about the proposed transaction. This can be particularly important when dealing with multiple potential partners or when significant resources need to be invested in the negotiation process.
  6. Facilitating Third-Party Involvement: In some cases, an LOI may be required to secure financing, obtain regulatory approvals, or engage third-party advisors. Having a clear outline of the proposed deal can facilitate these processes.

What Should Be Included in a Letter of Intent?

The key clauses that often receive focused attention in LOI negotiations include:

  1. Scope of the Transaction: This section should provide specifics on what is being bought, sold, or agreed upon. It is one of the primary elements of an LOI and helps to clearly define the boundaries of the deal.
  2. Price and Payment Terms: Outlining the price and payment terms is critical in setting the financial expectations for the deal. This may include the total price, any deposits or earnest money, financing arrangements, and the expected closing date.
  3. Confidentiality: Confidentiality clauses are crucial to protect sensitive information shared during negotiations. These clauses typically stipulate that the parties will not disclose any confidential information received during the negotiation process.
  4. Exclusivity: Exclusivity clauses, also known as "no-shop" clauses, may be included to prevent parties from engaging with others on a similar deal during negotiations. These clauses often specify a time period during which the parties agree to negotiate exclusively with each other.
  5. Conditions Precedent: This section outlines any necessary steps or approvals required before finalizing the transaction. This may include due diligence requirements, obtaining financing, securing board approvals, or obtaining regulatory clearances.
  6. Timeline and Next Steps: The LOI should specify the expected timeline for the transaction and outline the next steps in the process. This may include deadlines for due diligence, exclusivity periods, and the anticipated date for executing a definitive agreement.

It's important to note that while many of the clauses in an LOI are often non-binding, they still provide a structured approach and clear expectations for the impending transaction.

In addition to these key clauses, a comprehensive LOI may also include:

  1. Non-Binding Nature: A statement clarifying that the LOI is not a binding contract and that the parties are not obligated to complete the transaction unless and until a definitive agreement is signed.
  2. Governing Law: A clause specifying which state or country's laws will govern the interpretation and enforcement of the LOI.
  3. Termination: Conditions under which either party can terminate the LOI and the negotiation process.
  4. Expenses: A provision outlining how the parties will handle expenses incurred during the negotiation process, such as due diligence costs or legal fees.

Checklist for a Good Letter of Intent

To ensure that your LOI is effective, comprehensive, and aligned with your business objectives, use this checklist:

  •  Clearly define the parties involved
  •  Specify the scope and nature of the proposed transaction
  •  Outline the key terms, including price and payment structure
  •  Include confidentiality clauses to protect sensitive information
  •  Consider exclusivity clauses to prevent simultaneous negotiations with other parties
  •  Identify any conditions that must be met before proceeding with the deal
  •  Establish a timeline and milestones for the negotiation process
  •  Clarify which provisions, if any, are intended to be legally binding
  •  Specify the governing law for the LOI
  •  Include termination provisions and allocation of expenses
  •  Have the LOI reviewed by legal counsel
  •  Ensure all parties sign the LOI

AI Contract Review for Letters of Intent

To give you a sense for the benefits of leveraging ai contract review 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 less a small sample of the pre-built, pre-trained Legal AI Contract Review solution for Letters of Intent. If you’d like to see more, we invite you to book a demo.


For: Both

Alert: May include a clause stipulating that the parties can negotiate with third parties regarding the subject transaction.

Guidance: The primary legal principle in the given suggestion highlights the significance of exclusivity in negotiations, which prevents parties from engaging in discussions with third parties regarding the subject transaction during the negotiation period. This principle aims to foster trust and promote a more efficient negotiation process by ensuring that both parties are committed to negotiating exclusively with each other.

In practice, this exclusivity provision helps protect the interests of the parties and maintain the integrity of the negotiation process. For instance, in a merger scenario, including an exclusivity provision in the LOI can expedite the negotiation process and increase the likelihood of a successful merger by ensuring that both companies are committed to the negotiation process and not exploring alternative merger opportunities with other companies.

While there may not be specific statutes or laws governing exclusivity provisions in LOIs, general principles of contract law apply. Parties should ensure that their exclusivity provisions are clear, unambiguous, and enforceable under the applicable state or federal laws. Additionally, parties should consider the duration of the exclusivity period and any potential consequences for breaching the exclusivity provision, such as the payment of liquidated damages or termination of the LOI.

It is important to note that a significant exception to the primary legal principle of a no-shop clause is the ""fiduciary out"" provision. This exception allows the target company's board of directors to consider and engage in discussions with third parties if they receive an unsolicited, superior proposal that is more favorable to the shareholders than the existing transaction. This exception is based on the directors' fiduciary duties under corporate law, which require them to act in the best interests of the shareholders and maximize shareholder value.

Sample Language:


1. The Parties agree that during the Term (defined below) neither the PROPOSING PARTY nor the PROPOSED PARTY shall, directly or indirectly, solicit, initiate, entertain or receive any proposal or offer from any third party relating to the Potential Transaction.

2. If the PROPOSED PARTY received a written proposal relating to the Potential Transaction, the PROPOSED PARTY shall promptly notify the PROPOSING PARTY of such proposal and keep the PROPOSING PARTY informed of the status thereof.


For: Both

Alert: May be missing an article regarding the validity period of the agreement.

Guidance: It is generally advised for parties to set a clear validity period within the LOI to establish a well-defined timeline and prevent potential disputes or misunderstandings. This approach facilitates a smoother negotiation process and fosters a positive business relationship.

In practical terms, specifying a validity period in the LOI enables parties to plan and allocate resources effectively, ensuring that both parties are aware of their respective obligations and commitments during the validity period. For instance, when entering into a partnership for a specific project, a clear timeline allows both parties to allocate resources efficiently and complete the project within the agreed-upon timeframe.

While there might not be specific statutes or laws requiring the inclusion of a validity period in an LOI, it is considered a best practice in contract law. To minimize the risk of the LOI being deemed a binding contract under the ""Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel,"" parties should clearly state whether the LOI is intended to be binding or non-binding, specify any binding provisions, and include a provision stating that a separate, definitive agreement will be executed to finalize the transaction.

Moreover, it is crucial to include a clear expiration date or specific duration for the LOI, ensuring that parties understand the time frame within which they are expected to negotiate and finalize the definitive agreement. If the parties fail to reach a final agreement within the specified time frame, the LOI will no longer be effective, and the parties will not be bound by its terms.

Sample Language:


This LOI shall come into effect from the date of this LOI and shall remain in full force and effect until [DATE], the date when the Definitive Agreement is executed, or the date when this LOI is terminated in accordance with the article in this LOI, which is earlier (the “Term”).


For: Both

Alert: May be missing a clause defining the scope of confidential information.

Guidance: To ensure the security of sensitive information, it is essential to delineate the scope of what constitutes confidential information. This clarity assists both parties in understanding their obligations and fosters trust between them. For example, when two companies negotiate a partnership to develop a new product, a well-defined confidentiality clause in the LOI can help safeguard proprietary data, maintain a competitive edge, and prevent potential misuse or disclosure of trade secrets.

The responsibilities and commitments of the involved parties are refined by explicitly outlining their obligations to protect and maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information. Relevant statutes or laws to consider in this context include the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) and the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), which establish the legal framework for protecting confidential information.

It is also crucial to be aware of exceptions or doctrines that may apply, such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its state-level equivalents. These laws grant public access to certain records held by government agencies, subject to specific exemptions. If a party to the LOI is a government agency or entity, the confidentiality clause may be subject to these laws, and certain information may be disclosed despite the confidentiality provisions in the LOI.

Sample Language:


1. In this Agreement, “Confidential Information” shall mean any and all information, tangible or intangible, which a reasonable person could consider to be non-public, secret, proprietary, or confidential in nature, and is disclosed by the Party (the “Disclosing Party”) to the other Party (the “Receiving Party”) in connection with the purpose of this Agreement.

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, the 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.

Best Practices for Using Letters of Intent

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

  1. Be Clear and Specific: Clarity is key in an LOI. Make sure that all terms and conditions are clearly defined and that both parties have the same understanding of the proposed deal. Use specific language and avoid ambiguities that could lead to misunderstandings or disputes.
  2. Focus on Key Terms: While an LOI should provide a comprehensive outline of the proposed deal, it should not get bogged down in minor details. Focus on the key terms that are essential for moving forward with the transaction.
  3. Be Strategic with Binding Clauses: Consider carefully which provisions of the LOI should be binding. Confidentiality and exclusivity clauses are often made binding, but be cautious about making other terms binding prematurely.
  4. Use as a Tool for Negotiation: An LOI is not just a preliminary document; it's also a tool for negotiation. Use the drafting process to identify and resolve potential sticking points early on.
  5. Keep it Professional: Remember that an LOI is a business document. Keep the tone professional and avoid making promises or commitments that you may not be able to keep.
  6. Involve Legal Counsel: While an LOI is generally not a legally binding contract, it's still important to involve legal counsel in the drafting and review process. An attorney can help ensure that your interests are protected and that the LOI is setting the stage for a successful transaction.
  7. Follow Up: An LOI is just the beginning of the deal process. After signing, make sure to follow up promptly with the next steps outlined in the document. Keep the momentum going to ensure a successful closing.


Letters of Intent are a valuable tool for businesses looking to outline the key terms of a proposed transaction and set the stage for successful negotiations. By clarifying intentions, providing a framework for negotiations, protecting confidentiality, and demonstrating commitment, LOIs can help streamline the deal-making process and increase the chances of a successful outcome.

To ensure the effectiveness of your LOIs, it's important to include key provisions such as the scope of the transaction, price and payment terms, confidentiality, exclusivity, conditions precedent, and timeline. The LOI should be tailored to your specific circumstances, reviewed by legal counsel, and used strategically as a tool for negotiation.

By following best practices for drafting and using LOIs, businesses can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their deal-making processes, setting the stage for successful transactions and long-term business relationships.

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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