Contracts & Transactions

The Office of the General Counsel's Office reviews the form of all contracts and agreements to which the University is a party prior to signature.  Our Office can provide model agreement templates for departments, and is available to assist departments in negotiating agreements. 

What is the process to get a contract signed by the University?

In accordance with the University's policies regarding Business Conduct and Professional Standards, "a contract is any agreement, written or verbal, that obligates the University to pay money or other consideration for goods, services or facilities, or to provide goods, services or facilities in exchange for money or other considerations and all proposed contracts must be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel for review."  This means that contracts such as license agreements, consultant agreements, real estate leases, service provider agreements and other forms of agreement must be submitted to the Office of the General Counsel for legal review.  

Note, however, the Accounts Payable department and the Procurement Services department have established (on their respective websites) procedures regarding the purchase of goods and services from certain vendors and/or under specified dollar amounts.  These procedures should be followed in those cases.  In addition, some types of agreements must be sent to other departments at the University prior to being submitted to our office.  For example, all international contracts focused on education, academic affairs or service must first be sent to the Vice Provost for Global Relations and all real estate leases must first be sent to the Director of Business Services. To submit your contract for review, you must complete the contract cover sheet (PDF), and submit both the cover sheet and two (2) copies of the contract to our Office.  

When our Office receives a contract we, will review its legal terms and conditions. Sometimes, a contract will require negotiation with the other party. Other times, such as if your contract is on an unaltered, University-approved template (available on this website), negotiation is not required.  Upon approval, the contract will be sent to the appropriate office on campus for signature.

Both parties - the University and the service provider - must sign the contract. Please DO NOT sign the contracts on behalf of Northeastern. At Northeastern, only certain individuals have the authority to sign contracts.  In most cases, the University Treasurer will sign agreements on behalf of the University.  After the Treasurer or other designated official has signed the contract, a person from that office will contact the person(s) designated on the contract cover sheet to arrange for pick-up or delivery of the signed contract. You must then forward the contract to the other party for their signature, if not already signed by that party. You should keep one fully signed version of the contract for your records, as our Office does not keep contracts on file.

For the most efficient review and completion of a contact, it is best to contact our Office during the planning stages. Please see our Contract Review Guidelines (PDF) and our Memorandum dated October 22, 2012 Contract Cover Sheet Contract Process Reminder (PDF), or call us at x2157 for more information.

For assistance with issues related to photo, video, or other creative or multimedia projects, please consult the Photo/Video toolkit.

Contract Resources

October 30, 2013 Step by Step for Beginners: How to Walk Through the Contract Review Process

February 26, 2013 Tales from the Trenches

January 2012 Brown Bag Lunch Seminar How to Speed up the Contract Review Process

July 2011 Brown Bag Lunch Seminar How to Speed up the Contract Review Process Northeastern University

July 2010 Brown Bag Lunch Seminar Anatomy of a Contract

Contract FAQs

How will I know the status of a contract that I have submitted for review?
Our contract tracking system will send e-mail notifications to the submitter of the contract and any secondary contacts that the submitted designated on the contract cover sheet, which should be submitted with each contract. 

Could I be personally liable if I sign a contract and I am not one of the University's authorized signatories?
Yes.  Personal liability can include all costs and expenses associated with the contract, including attorneys' fees.

Are there any agreements which need to be submitted to an office or department prior to being submitted to the Office of the General Counsel?

Yes.  There are currently two (2) types of such agreements: a) International Contracts and b) Real Estate Leases.

International contracts must first be sent to the VP of Global Relations in the Provost's office.  Real Estate Leases much first be sent to the Director of Business Services.

What do I put in the compensation section of an agreement?
Please view the compensation description (Microsoft Word) of what to consider when entering a compensation description in a contract.

Are there any insurance requirements for either holding an event my department wants to sponsor on campus or organizing an event off campus?
Yes.  Any and all questions about insurance should be directed by email to  For a prompt response, please provide: your name, contact number, purpose of the request and/or a brief description of the issue and applicable dates and amounts involved.  Deloris Pettis, the VP for Enterprise Risk Management will be able to answer any questions you may have.  A list of common types of Certificates of Insurance are found here. 

What is the law regarding hiring an independent contractor to work at the University?
Please visit Accounts Payable to review information to determine whether or not your independent contractor can perform work at the University.  For additional information, please read the May 2005 Newsletter decribing Independent Contractor Law.


The University maintains a number of standard template agreements which, for a number of reasons, should be used wherever possible to document various types of transactions and/or events at the University. If you have questions about which form is correct for your event or transaction, please contact us.


For assistance with issues related to photo, video, or other creative or multimedia projects, please consult the Photo/Video toolkit.