Tips from an Attorney


4.9/5 (from 100+ Design Professionals)

Our workshops have helped hundreds of Architects & Engineers sign better contracts and reduce risk.



Binita Vora

Founder | Parshva Associates

This helped me answer a lot of questions and concerns as a startup small business firm. Zach helped me understand the key requirements and pitfalls to be aware of while drafting a contract along with the pros and cons of certain language or words used in contracts and how these can benefit or harm an architect. I enjoyed Zach's awesomeness! This is very informative especially for those who are new to the business of architecture. Thank you for all you do!

Jean headshot

Jean Sovinski

Managing Partner | Studio 343

I learned the value of mitigating risk and I gained a better understanding of the definition of risk management vs. insurance. I also learned the importance of how we document what we see in the field, and to view what we see through a more critical lens so that we better document conditions and contractual events. CYA is so important. Thanks for a great program!


Jefferson Schierbeek

Partner | Addison Schierbeek architects

Zach is personable, clear and very helpful (with a dash of humor) in the daunting challenge of explaining risk as it applies to the architectural profession. He gives concrete and useful methodologies and tactics to mitigate and protect our practices from the ever increasing complexities of the legal world in which we live. I will continue refining our contract, evolving our language and communication, while paying closer attention to important topics like Standard of Care.


Jeremy Portillo

Principal | Retrofit Design

I was unsure of what risks I had opened myself up to by starting my own firm. I learned from this that there's so much I don't know. It gave me a lot to think about and made me much more cautious.

About the Course


Feel Confident Reviewing and Negotiating Your Contracts

Design Professionals have so much responsibility on a day-to-day basis that it can be near impossible to make time to learn the skills neccessary to sign better contracts.

We know you didn't go to law school, but the reality is, signing bad contracts sets you up for disputes, insurance claims, or even lawsuits that could put you out of business.

The good news is we have the solutions. There are simple tactics to use when signing a contract that can make all the difference.

What you'll discover during this workshop...

  • Bad clauses and language to avoid in contracts
  • How to understand complex contract jargon
  • Steps to customize your own AIA or EJCDC template
  • Strategies for the contract negotiation process

About the Instructors


Zachary Waters

Based out of Northern California, Zach is the CEO of Black Swan Risk Management and an insurance broker for architects and engineers at the Insurance Office of America. He offers a practical approach to protecting design firms and spends much of his time consulting on best practices, quality management, and contractual issues in the design industry. He is also an active Board Member and Treasurer of The Architectural Foundation of San Francisco and heavily involved in the EntreArchitect community.

Learn more about Zach!


Stephen Litchfield

Stephen is a transactional and trial attorney based out of Orange County. His practice focuses on the representation of professionals with an emphasis on advising architects, engineers, and other design firms. He regularly counsels clients on a variety of corporate needs, including formation, compliance, capital structure, mergers, acquisitions and more. He is also an active member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Learn more about Steve!


$297 Value

  • 3 Hours of Training
  • Digital Copy of Recordings
  • Contract Review Guide PDF
  • Sample Contract Templates


Additional discounts for current Black Swan clients
Email for details


Owners, CFOs, Principals, Operations Managers, or any Design Professionals that deal with client contracts.

Of course! We want to show you, from an attorney's perspective, what we look for when reviewing client agreements.

Zach and Steve work with ENR Top 100 Design Firms.

With years of experience working specifically with Architects and Engineers, we know the issues that matter to you.

We build risk management programs for firms and help them become claim free.

You will learn risk management strategies that can help your firm right away!

Click on any "Reserve My Spot" buttons on this page.

If you have any questions, then send us a message with the form below or email Zach at


Scroll to Top