MSCD5: Can I Interest You in Doing a Review?

It would be hard to think of something more unfashionable than a book review, but book reviews perform a valuable service. The in-depth expertise required to tackle a demanding subject likely resides in books, but most of those looking to benefit from that expertise necessarily won’t possess the expertise required to evaluate that expertise. (Catch-22!) Book reviews can help people … Read More

MSCD5: When and How Much!

Friends, the fifth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting (otherwise known as MSCD5) will be available for purchase from the American Bar Association in mid-April 2023. To echo what a deeply nerdy reader actually said, “I feel excitement in the air!” It has been a long time coming. I started work on it in November 2021. And … Read More

Making More Judges Aware of MSCD

Of the sixty-odd articles I’ve written, one is a real turkey: Revisiting the Ambiguity of “And” and “Or” in Legal Drafting, published in 2006. It flubs the analysis of or. I was subsequently rescued by Rodney Huddleston, titan of linguistics (see this 2020 post), so in A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, the analysis of ambiguity associated with or … Read More

MSCD5: Moar Detail!

In a conversation a few years ago with a BigLaw partner—a friend of MSCD—they recalled wistfully the first edition, which gave you relatively concise advice on the basics. Well, they’ll be even more wistful when they see MSCD5, because I’ve added greater detail. A good example is my treatment of our old friend efforts provisions. I’ve revised that chapter to … Read More

MSCD5: Don’t Equate the Author with Their Work

I’ve been wading through the page proofs of MSCD5. I’m devoting more time to this part of the process than I have with previous editions. I’ve even spotted a few glitches that had slipped into the fourth edition. So things are looking good for MSCD5. But I’ve found myself assessing how I relate to my work. I’m intimately familiar with … Read More

MSCD5: The Awesomest Part of the Fifth Edition

One of many additions to the fifth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting is an expanded discussion of including. “Great,” I hear you say, deadpan. “Swell.” I assure the jaded among you that this new section is in fact particularly interesting, but that’s not what this post is about. Instead, I want to bring to your attention … 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

MSCD5: Hunting Down Internal Inconsistency

There’s me, and there’s my writings. If you want to know what I think about something, you might want to start by consulting my writings, rather than asking me. I’ve been writing about this stuff for more than 20 years, and a lot of it is complicated, so I can only keep some of it in my mind at any … Read More

MSCD5: A New Opening to the Chapter on the Categories of Contract Language

Perhaps the most distinctive part of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting is chapter 3, The Categories of Contract Language. It addresses how to use verb structures to establish, clearly and concisely, your intended meaning. To get a sense of what it involves, see the “quick reference” chart that’s part of the chapter; you can get to it through … Read More