Quid Pro Quo

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated September 30, 2020

What is Quid Pro Quo?

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that literally means "something for something." The phrase usually indicates an exchange of goods or services of roughly equivalent value.

How Does Quid Pro Quo Work?

From a legal perspective, quid pro quo indicates that a good or service has been traded for something of equal value. In particular, quid pro quo is used explicitly to indicate that there has been "consideration" in a contract, meaning that there are goods or services being delivered and that acceptable payment is made for these goods or services. Without consideration, or quid pro quo, for example, a contract may be determined to be nonbinding and invalid.

In the political world, for example, quid pro quo sometimes refers to giving support, financial or otherwise, to a political candidate in exchange for the expectation of direct support for an activity of the political benefactor. Quid pro quo may appear as bribery in these cases and such support must always be tested for conflicts of interest.

Why Does Quid Pro Quo Matter?

Quid pro quo is one of the most common Latin legal terms used. In any transaction, legal, political or otherwise, it is helpful to know the quid pro quo, that is, the balance of the value of the service or good and the financial compensation being offered.