As young lawyers, we learn the valuable lesson from colleagues and mentors that ambiguity in a written agreement is the enemy of a good lawyer; it has the potential to land us in court with our skills labeled inept. Ambiguity becomes our boogeyman, the stuff of our nightmares, with the power to subject us to courtrooms where laypeople determine what our writings meant.
To combat ambiguity, we incorporate details to further highlight our intent; we use examples to express the meaning of the words we have chosen. We spend time crafting and re-crafting clauses to ensure every potential issue is addressed, adding detail to make certain no other meaning could possibly be ascribed to the words we have painstakingly selected. It is therefore surprising that there is one document unlike any other, a document in which the inclusion of extensive detail actually creates ambiguity about the intent of the parties to it, a document that can be the downfall of the most detail-oriented among us—that document is the letter of intent.