ABA Cyberspace Law Committee Looking to Develop New Model Contracts

Through this post by Michael Fleming on the Cyberspace Lawyer’s Blogger, I learned that the Cyberspace Law Committee of the ABA Section of Business Law is proposing to draft new model contracts. This project sounds interesting:

The Liberty Alliance Project is, in its own words, working to “enable a networked world based on open standards where consumers, citizens, businesses and governments can more easily conduct online transactions while protecting the privacy and security of identity information. This world, where devices and identities of all kinds are linked by federation and protected by universal strong authentication, is being built today with Liberty’s open identity standards, business and deployment guidelines and best practices for managing privacy.”

We will be looking for members to be involved in a project to develop model contracts that members of Liberty-based networks (known as ‘federations’) could use, as well as to jointly develop a white paper that could be used to explain the legal underpinnings to others. These sorts of projects are the bedrock of what our committee has done in the past to help in the development of eCommerce, and we’re excited to be invited to participate in a new project.

I have a radical proposal for Michael and his colleagues: draft the model contracts in accordance with the recommendations in the second edition of MSCD.

That’s certainly not how ABA committees draft model contracts. Instead, as I noted in this November 2006 post, each committee develops its own usages, which in effect means that drafters are left to their own devices. The results aren’t pretty.

I’ve idly suggested to some in the ABA that they use MSCD as their house style, but I’ve had no takers. If anyone were to take me up on this, it would be the boldly-into-the-future types of the Cyberspace Law Committee.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.