Selected Usages

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

Whether to Use “Degree of Care” or “Efforts”

The other day I saw this in a confidentiality agreement: You could express the same concept using efforts: The Recipient shall use reasonable efforts to prevent disclosure or use of Confidential Information other than as authorized in this agreement. Or you could express it using neither degree of care nor efforts: The Recipient shall take precautions to prevent disclosure or … Read More

Revisiting “Setoff” and “Offset”

Every once in a while, I revisit a subject I made a hash of previously. Now is one of those times. I did this 2014 post on the setoff and offset. Because of an oversight on my part, the topic never made it into MSCD. I exhumed it for the fifth edition, and in the process realized that my 2014 … Read More

“24/7” and the Limits of Jargon [Updated: It’s Actually Informal!]

[Updated 10:30 p.m. ET, 9 May 2022: Thanks to Josh’s comment, I now have a different take on 24/7. It’s not limited to contracts—one hears 24/7 in all sorts of contexts. So I don’t think it’s jargon. Instead, it’s informal. I suspect that it’s more common in speech than in writing; that’s often the case with informal usages. But it’s … Read More

Misapplying Sale-of-Goods Concepts to Services

Selling services is very different from selling stuff, so contracts for one are different from contracts for the other. Yet drafters are prone to deploying in contacts for the sale of services concepts that make sense only for selling goods. One example of that is saying that services are being sold “as-is.” When you sell a car “as-is,” that means … Read More

“Except to the Extent Prohibited by Law”: Redundant or Not?

[Updated 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time, 25 March 2022] Today in a session of my online course Drafting Clearer Contracts: Masterclass, we found ourselves discussing the phrase except to the extent prohibited by law (and its variants). It’s used to modify obligations. Isn’t it redundant?, someone asked. If you don’t perform the obligation because to do so would be against the … Read More

Yet Another Unedifying Canadian “Efforts” Case

Courtesy of tipsters who DMed me on Twitter, I bring you Sutter Hill Management Corporation v. Mpire Capital Corporation, a case before the Supreme Court of British Columbia (here). Here’s the contract provision at issue: The Purchaser shall use commercially reasonable best efforts to satisfy the condition precedent set out in this Section 2.5 as soon as possible. Commercially reasonable … Read More

Using “Including” for Stuff That Isn’t Part of the Class

Today I put this out on Twitter: Has anyone encountered an instance of someone seeking to use "including" to add to a class something that categorically would not otherwise be part of the class? For example, "fruit, including carrots." — Ken Adams (@AdamsDrafting) January 6, 2022 This question came to mind because it’s one aspect of including pathology that I … Read More

“Shall Not Be Concerned To See To”

[Updated 3 Jan. 2022] It could be gratifying when no one notices that I’ve screwed something up. No egg on my face! But instead, it’s a little disconcerting. No one cares! Or Serious egg on my face later, when I repeat the mistake in print! In the original version of this post (published in 2018), I misunderstood entirely the usage … Read More