Selected Usages

“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

Be Careful About This When You Negotiate “Efforts” Provisions

A few months ago I noticed that the Georgetown Law Journal had published a student note entitled Is This Really The Best We Can Do? American Courts’ Irrational Efforts Clause Jurisprudence And How We Can Start To Fix It. It’s by Charles Thau, who has now graduated. Hi Charles, and congratulations on the note! My only reason for mentioning this … Read More

Please Welcome Another Component to the “Efforts” Provision Family

In this April 2017 blog post I unleashed on the world my chart showing the different components of efforts provisions. Well, it’s time to add another column to that baby, unfortunately. That’s because I followed up on something I buried in this September 2019 post on the LegalSifter blog, namely an instance of the phrase mediation efforts. That offered the … Read More

More English “Endeavours” Gibberish

In this 2019 post I suggest that not much is to be gained by arguing which is better, English drafting or US drafting. But I did point out one noteworthy distinction: Even if you accept that a given kind of U.S. contract is likely to exhibit more dysfunction than an equivalent piece of English drafting, that’s perhaps offset by the … Read More