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Elements of a contract, part 1: The offer

As explained by the University of New Mexico’s Judicial Education Center, four elements must be shown in order to establish a legally binding contract: offer, consideration, acceptance and mutuality. If a Las Vegas plaintiff initiates a legal action alleging breach of contract, that plaintiff must prove that these all exist in order to proceed with the lawsuit.

This blog series will explore each of these elements individually, beginning with the offer.

According to the JEC, an offer is as a promise made by one party, which commits that party to a future action. This can be a commitment to perform an action, or to refrain from performing an action. Nevada state law further expands on the definition of an offer, stating that it is an invitation to acceptance.

An offer is not necessarily static, as a contract is often the result of extensive negotiations between parties. As the JEC explains, an offer can be rejected and new terms can be given as a counteroffer. Here is an example of this: Party A offers to purchase five product units from Party B for $5, and Party B responds by asking for $10. In this situation, Party A’s offer was rejected and Party B has set forth a counteroffer.

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