Australia: A Haven for Contract Drafters?

Earlier this week I saw the following notice on the website of The Australian (emphasis added):

GLOBAL firm Jones Day has poached Tony Wassaf from Allens Arthur Robinson and appointed him partner in the firm’s Sydney office.

The energy and resources specialist has more than 25 years experience in the sector and said he was keen to work for a firm that gave clients the best international expertise.

Sydney office partner in charge Chris Ahern said he was delighted Wassaf had joined the firm. “Tony has built an international reputation for his commercial focus, his ability to quickly identify issues and find solutions and his strength in contract drafting. He will help complement and enhance Jones Day’s world-wide standing in this vital economic area,” he said.

A big-firm partner being complimented on his contract drafting? I can’t recall ever having seen that in print. In the U.S., the general assumption seems to be that contract drafting is something you push as far down the food chain as possible. (See this March 2007 blog post for more about that.)

And on the same day as I saw that notice, someone who attended my Washington, D.C. seminar for West LegalEdcenter remarked how of all the lawyers around the world that he’s retained to work on his company’s contracts, the Australians were the sharpest.

So do Australians take their contract drafting especially seriously? Is the language of mainstream business contracts any less dysfunctional in Australia?

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.