Dental Associate Agreements – Trust But Verify

I’ve been reading quite a few threads recently, NewDocs and on DT about folks trusting in their new bosses and believing that what’s been told to them in an interview is what’s actually written in their agreement, only to find out later that it’s not what they thought.

Don’t take it for granted that what you’ve been told verbally will make it into an agreement. Here are some reasons why it may not:

1. Employer simply forgets what you talked about

2. Employer’s attorney already has a template employment agreement and simply forgets to inject specifics the employer mentioned & employer forgets to verify before giving to associate.

3. Employer’s attorney simply tells employer NOT to write it into the agreement for whatever reason. Employer either forgets to tell associate OR simply hopes the associate doesn’t remember or will simply won’t speak up.

4. Employer has 2nd thoughts about what was discussed.

5. Worst case, employer had no intentions of writing it into the agreement.

And there are many more reasons.

You, as the interviewee, should take detailed notes during your interview & near the end of the interview, recap with the prospective employer what was disucussed to make sure what was said was actually meant. If it’s a job you like, you should follow up after a day or two with a note to the employer thanking them for the opportunity to interview & how impressed you were with the facilities, etc. & summarizing the details AGAIN of what was disucssed.

After receiving the initial draft of the employment or independant contractors agreement (whatever was discussed) make sure YOU review it & send your notes & thank you letter to your attorney to make sure the agreement includes everything that was discussed AND that it is presented accurately in the agreement.

This is where many associates fail to realize that this is BUSINESS. No matter how cordial the employer was or seemed to be, it’s now BUSINESS and YOU need to make sure YOU take care of business. Get that agreement reviewed, hopefully by an attorney with tons of dental experience, to make sure it’s written as you expected.

Yes, you’ll have to pay hundreds, if not a few thousand dollars to make sure it’s accurate, however, if you’re entering this arrangement for even a year, that attorney will be able to make sure that your investment is well protected with an agreement that is fair & represents what was disucssed.

Remember, you could stand to make over $100k in a full-time associateship in the first year and a poorly written agreement could easily cost you 5-10% PLUS of total compensation PER YEAR if you’re not diligent in your approach.

Don’t take it for granted, get ALL your agreements reviewed by an attorney before you sign & accept, it is SMART business.

The post first appeared on New Docs.

Send your questions to Tim Lott, CPA, CVA at

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