Ken Adams

Effecting Change, Retail and Wholesale

Periodically, I proclaim how getting rid of the copy-and-paste system for drafting contracts will require change at the wholesale level. In other words, it will require a new system that offers a compelling alternative to copy-and-paste. I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago, in this post. But I don’t mean to give short shrift to change at the … Read More

MSCD 5: Doing Away with “Studiously Foppish”

In this post I consider how, with help, I’ve gone about improving the prose of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. It so happens that this week I had occasion to address a single fix among the many. In this post on LinkedIn, MSCD reader Steven Mirsky says he was baffled by the word allonge and was gratified to … Read More

In Contracts, Everything Looks Like a Need for Expertise

“Confirmation bias” is a term for the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirming your existing beliefs or theories. The notion is expressed in the old saw that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. My hammer is that it’s important to get right what you say in a contract and how you say it, … Read More

“Masterclass” Isn’t for Everyone

Last year the head of a government department that handles procurement had a dozen people on his team take my online course Drafting Clearer Contracts: Masterclass. Yesterday I asked him how it had gone. Here’s the most relevant part of what he had to say: “What I heard from most attendees is that they didn’t find your course useful in … Read More

Flipping the Table

On social media, it’s easy enough to find people discussing basic examples of suboptimal contract usages, such as exuberant use of all capitals. Such venting gets plenty of engagement, but generally I don’t join in. I’m reconciled to saying the same thing over and over again. For example, a search for efforts on my blog pulls up over 200 posts. … Read More

Gatekeepers, Scriveners, Enthusiasts, Influencers, Cheerleaders, and Clearinghouses: A Short History of Recent Legal Commentary

Legal commentary has gone through changes in the past twenty years that are comparable to what has happened to all commentary, in this country and throughout the world. Here are my impressions. Gatekeepers and Scriveners Twenty years ago, if I wanted to publish an article, I had a handful of possible outlets owned by various media companies and bar associations. … Read More

Where My Article on the Ambiguous “Material” Is Headed

I’ve occasionally mentioned on social media that I was working on an article about how the word material is ambiguous. Well, I finished it. The title is The Word Material Is Ambiguous in Contracts, Why That’s a Problem, and How to Fix It. It will be published next year in Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, but I’ll put a “forthcoming” … Read More

“End of Agreement”?

The drafting gods are toying with me! I sent the publisher the final manuscript of the fifth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. The next day, I saw something I haven’t seen before that deserves to appear in MSCD5: the phrase End of Agreement. After I saw it in one contract, I of course went on EDGAR, … Read More

Is Clarifying the Scope of a Definition Worth It?

Last week I tweeted this image: In the tweet, I said this: There’s a disconnect in meaning between the definition (green) and the defined term (red). The way to fix it is by “clarifying the scope” of the definition: adding a phrase-plus-comma at the beginning of the defined-term parenthetical. Any suggestions? In a reply, I offered this fix, while acknowledging … Read More