Non-Disclosure Agreements: What’s the most polite/professional way to decline to sign an NDA with an early stage company?

As others have indicated, I think it’s fair to be honest about why you aren’t comfortable signing an NDA at this time. Anybody that works in business understands that a signed document can have serious implications. Plus, the entire point of an NDA is to protect the individuals when sensitive, private information is being exchanged. If you aren’t ready to go down that road, then you should definitely express that.

A simple response could be that you prefer your attorney to review the NDA before you sign and at this point you aren’t ready to exchange confidential information. However,many of the things you are concerned about happening (such as being bullied or having your information used in a malicious way) can also be avoided by proper legal contracts.

If you are interested in moving forward with reviewing the NDA, a business attorney would certainly benefit you. They can help you make sure the document protects your interest as well as discuss any contracts you may want to draft as you move forward, if you choose to do so.

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