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Legalese: “Quid Pro Quo”

In addition to my Ag Torts 101 series (next blog coming soon!), I’m starting another series where I help define legalese.  First up is one of my favorite contract law terms – “quid pro quo” (pronounced “kwid proh kwoh”).  It is not commonly used but it sure is fun to say!  It is Latin for “something for something” (or a tit for tat).  The more common term used in contract law is “consideration.”

Black’s Law Dictionary defines quid pro quo as “[a]n action or thing that is exchanged for another action or thing of more or less equal value.”  The elements of a contract are:  offer, acceptance, consideration (or quid pro quo), and mutual asset.  Without consideration, a contract isn’t legally enforceable.  It’s just a gift.  And a promise to make a gift is not legally binding (an exception to this general rule is if the promise to make a gift is detrimentally relied upon and that reliance is foreseeable). 

Courts view nominal consideration as inadequate to make a contract legally binding.  An example of this is where Farmer A sells Farmer B a piece of property for $1.  This is clearly inadequate consideration and the courts would view this as a gift. 

So next time you are making an agreement, ask yourself whether ample consideration (or quid pro quo) was offered, accepted, and mutually agreed upon.  Not only can you have fun saying the legal term but you now know what it means!

"This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before relying on the information in this blog."

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