Bad Drafting

The Hole in Corporate Contracting Where Quality Should Be

Last week I noticed Will EY Law Change The Legal Delivery Paradigm?, by Mark Cohen. It’s about EY, the multinational professional services partnership. Here are the first two paragraphs: EY’s leadership recently green lighted a major restructuring, ending months of heated speculation. The plan has two key prongs: (1) EY’s audit and advisory businesses will split; and (2) the advisory business will … Read More

Excuses for Sticking With Traditional Contract Language

Although no one publicly challenges my recommendations (see this 2018 blog post), I’ve occasionally encountered, in writing and in private exchanges with lawyers and law-school faculty, general arguments for sticking with traditional contract language. Here’s my taxonomy of those arguments. Claiming That Traditional Contract Language “Works” One such argument is that traditional contract language “works.” (See for example this 2017 … Read More

Tidying Up the Other Side’s Messy Draft

A question from a reader: When the other party’s counsel does the first draft, I have to work within the confines of whatever I’m given. In my review, I focus on what doesn’t reflect the deal as I see it or what might cause confusion—trying to turn their draft into a thing of beauty would waste everyone’s time and might … Read More

Contracts as Incantation

Here’s one of today’s tweets: Today's pioneering plain-English initiative: god's acts>acts of god — Ken Adams (@AdamsDrafting) October 29, 2021 It wasn’t entirely inane. A symptom of legalistic jargon is if, in the case of a usage with two or more components, those components are fixed in a certain order. So the phrase is always acts of God, with the … Read More

Random Drafter Shoots Self in Foot Randomly

From this post on D.C. Toedt’s blog I learned about Miller v. Honkamp Krueger Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 20-3061, 2021 WL 3729047 (8th Cir. Aug. 24, 2021) (PDF here). It’s of interest as an instance of a drafter making an odd mistake. In 2006 Miller entered into an employment agreement with HKFS. Among other things, it said that “for a … Read More

Working Around Drafting Glitches Instead of Fixing Them

Yesterday I found this on EDGAR: It’s commonplace for contracts to contain instances of notice in writing or written notice and the like even though the notices provision says that all notices must be in writing. Whoever created the highlighted language was aware of that but decided that instead of, or in addition to, encouraging drafters to use search-and-replace to … Read More

Section 13.1(e) of AstraZeneca’s Contract with the European Commission: Statements of Fact or Future Facts?

You might well be aware of the dispute between AstraZeneca (AZ) and the European Commission (EU) over supplies of AZ’s COVID-19 vaccine. (Go here for an account from the Guardian.) The EU has made the contract available the public (here). AZ’s obligation to use “Best Reasonable Efforts” has attracted attention, but no one is suggesting we’re dealing with the fatuous … Read More

Don’t Make Another Contract Part of Your Contract

Today’s bit of advice: Don’t make some other contract part of your contract. That was prompted by this item by the Canadian law firm Bennett Jones. It involves a case before the British Columbia Supreme Court in which a general contractor wanted to refer the dispute to arbitration. The subcontract didn’t contain an arbitration provision, but the prime contract did. And … Read More

Is English Contract Drafting Better than American Contract Drafting?

Recently Mark Anderson and I found ourselves back-to-back, brandishing longswords and together battling nonsense in skirmishes that broke out on different platforms (go here for an entry point). But it would be no fun if that were to prevent me from riffing on something Mark says. In one of his posts in that exchange (here), Mark says this: Resistance to … Read More