An Online Test of Contract-Language Proficiency?

Recently I’ve been pondering whether I should put together an online multiple-choice test that would allow users to assess their command of MSCD-compliant contract language. It would be a simple enough matter to come up with fifty to 100 questions; each would offer an explanation that cites the relevant discussion in MSCD. Users would pay a modest fee to take the test.

But do you think anyone would be interested in taking such a test? Or would any organization be interested in having its employees take it?

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

7 thoughts on “An Online Test of Contract-Language Proficiency?”

  1. You'd be better off finding a way to make it free, requiring some contact info to take the quiz, and then using it as a promotional/prospecting tool for selling the book and your consulting services and seminars.

    • Jake: I hear you, but my blog and articles represent the "free" component of what I do; ultimately, a guy's got to earn a living. And doing this with any level of technological sophistication would cost money. Ken

  2. Ken, I think payment would be more realistic if there were some independent “qualification” that came with passing the test. Could you persuade the ABA, as publishers of MSCD, to establish a certification of a Contract Drafting Professional, or similar, based on correctly answering your questions? You could then also offer training in how to pass the exam.

    By way of analogy, I recently took a 3 hour exam, consisting of 150 multiple choice questions, to become a Certified Licensing Professional – an initiative of the Licensing Executives Society (US and Canada).

    The difficulty, I think, with charging for your test in the absence of such accreditation, is that you have to persuade a budget-holder that compliance with the specific recommendations of MSCD (rather than more general notions of drafting best practice) should be an organisational objective. I am guessing that the organisations that have seen the light, in this respect, may be already knocking on your door about consulting services.

    But the test may be another route to making them think about this issue. So it is probably worthwhile your investing in it, as long as you don’t look on it as profit-making venture in its own right.

    • Mark: Yes, I'm investigating the possibility of certification.

      You contrast MSCD-compliant drafting with "general notions of drafting best practice." But if you follow general notions of drafting best practice, whatever they might be, you perhaps increase the odds that your drafting will be problematic. Of the various ways to accomplish a given drafting goal, generally one will be clearer or more efficient than the others, and you'd be best off employing those usages consistently. MSCD aims to be a compendium of those usages. "General notions of drafting best practice" perhaps suggest something rather looser.


  3. I would be willing to take the test if my boss would pay for it. The chances of the boss paying increase greatly if a certification discussed here would go with successful test-taking.

  4. I agree with Mark Anderson’s suggestion. Another organizations to partner with for this effort might be the IACCM, which has an existing certification program that would benefit from your contribution in this area.

  5. What about seeing if an organization like IACCM would buy it for their training material? They have certification modules within their organization and people pay to be members.


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