Process

oneNDA Is mediocreNDA: Thoughts on a Proposed Standard Nondisclosure Agreement

oneNDA is a new initiative that “set out on a mission to standardise the NDA so that lawyers can spend less time on them and more time on more valuable work.” For more about oneNDA, go here. This week they released their “simple, plain English, open-source NDA,” also called, somewhat confusingly, oneNDA. My verdict is that it’s mediocre and doesn’t … Read More

Count Words, Not Pages

Excuse me if I quote my own tweet: Let's start using number of words, instead of number of pages, to say how long a contract is. Reading 1,500 words won't go any faster because it's on 3 pages instead of 4. In fact, it might take longer, if you use gimmicks like shrinking the font to fit it on one … Read More

Overcoming the Structural Advantages of Lawyers in Doing Contracts Work

In this recent article and this recent blog post, I argue that nothing prevents nonlawyers from handling deals and wrangling contract language—that what matters is competence, not which hat you wear. But to assess realistically the prospects of nonlawyers in the world of contracts, you have to recognize two factors that favor lawyers. Law School as a Credential First, lawyers … Read More

The Role of Lawyers in Disaggregated Contracts Work: A Response to Susskind and Eisenberg

Future-of-law commentator Richard Susskind has written with Neville Eisenberg, a partner in Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, this article in the current issue of The Practice. It’s entitled Vertically Integrated Legal Service, and it reflects a vision of the future of legal services that, when it comes to handling contracts, is at odds with my experience and what LegalSifter is doing. … Read More

“Contracting Center of Excellence”?

I was tempted to do an in-depth post about this EY survey, entitled The General Counsel Imperative: How Does Contracting Complexity Hide Clear Profitability? But the more I looked at it, the less I had to say about it. But this random tidbit grabbed my attention: Establish a contracting center of excellence (CoE). A dedicated team set up in a … Read More

Document Assembly Is Easy, Contracts Are Hard

The image above is one of 12 panels from this tweet by Jordan Furlong containing his graphic entitled “Types of Future of Law Paper.” It’s a riff on this xkcd webcomic entitled “Types of Scientific Paper.” Document Assembly Has Underperformed Obviously, for that one panel to work, it has to be grounded in reality. Document assembly is a straightforward technology … Read More

The Contract Drafter as Architect

This post on LinkedIn by Michael Naughton serves as a reminder of the perils of the artisanal approach to contract drafting: if there are no rigorous standards, you’re free to constantly reinvent a defective wheel. So if it’s not artisanal, how should we characterize contract drafting? Here’s what I said in this 2104 post: “I suggest that it’s a craft—the … Read More

Scorn and Ridicule Won’t Get People to Change

Last month I ran the following idea by my Twitter followers: Pondering a blog post: "Ten Signs Your Contract Template Is F*cked." — Ken Adams (@AdamsDrafting) October 10, 2020 It met with sufficient approval that I prepared a blog post entitled “Your Shit’s Fucked Up: 7 Signs of Dysfunctional Contract Templates.” Well, I regret to say that it won’t see … Read More

Overrated: Litigators As a Source of Contract-Drafting Advice

Last week I tweeted this, or something close to it: “When I want authoritative contract-drafting advice, I look to litigators.” I was aware that it was unclear whether I was being sincere or snarky. After a few hours, I decided that being gratuitously confusing was unhelpful, so I deleted the tweet. But the replies to my tweet remain. Some endorse … Read More