Birth Professional Consulting

Kesha is an IBLCE and serves on the advisory board of a California based maternal health company. She has worked closely with The Big Push for Midwives and was a speaker at the Birth Rights Bar Association annual conference in 2018. These partnerships and the fact that Kesha had her son with a Midwife and Perinatal Coach has made her the go-to person for Birth Professionals when they have a legal issue to resolve.

Kesha began reviewing contracts for midwifery practices, lactation consultants, and perinatal coaches, and giving general business advice for the past 5 years and has been practicing law for the past 12 years.

Birth professionals should use professionally written contracts and forms. When contracts are written clearly and concisely in Plain English disputes with clients will be few and far between. Clearly identifying each party to the contract and what they are and aren’t obligated to do will minimize risk for the Birth Professional.

Boilerplate legal clauses usually aren’t included in Birth Professional contracts but should be. These clauses help ensure that a dispute is handled outside of the courts and in a predictable manner.

FAQs

Should you have an arbitration clause?
This depends. Arbitration is private but just as lengthy and costly as court. Some birth professionals include it. Midwives should strongly consider it more so that other birth professionals.
Why should I have a choice of law provision?
Many midwives and a lot of doulas, depending on where they are geographically, work across state lines. In the unlikely event of a lawsuit you want to be able to defend yourself in your state and county.
What are the most common reasons for client disputes?
Lack of clear payment terms. Think about what triggers the client to pay, what happens if they don’t pay, and if you want to assess a late fee. Another common issue for doulas is that the client expects to schedule postpartum visits after the date the contracted services were supposed to end.
What tense or voice do I use in my contracts?
Active voice is best, for example, “client shall schedule all visits by July 4, 2022” and “provider shall provide a backup midwife if she cannot work a scheduled shift.”
Why are contracts so hard to understand and do I need legalese?
Drafters often make contracts intentionally difficult for anyone to understand but attorneys, but this is a disservice to you and your clients. Words like, “herein” are ambiguous. For example, does herein referred to the specific paragraph where that word is used, a section of the contract, or the entire contract? It doesn’t matter that the drafter knows what they meant because the courts can make their own interpretation when something is not clear. Similarly, “whereas” clauses are outdated. Use a simple statement of purpose paragraph.