Docracy’s Contract-Drafting Contest—Starting Sunday, April 15

In conjunction with the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic’s “Legal Hackathon,” today Docracy is launching a “hacking contracts” contest. To enter, use Docracy to revise one of four contracts (described as easy, medium, or hard). You’ll have two weeks to submit entries. The winner gets a Kindle Fire. And no, you don’t have to go to Brooklyn to enter! For more information, go here.

Docracy describes itself as “a social repository of contracts, legal agreements and other legal documents.” I haven’t shown it much love. In particular, in this post I suggested that putting suboptimal law-firm offerings on Docracy won’t advance the cause, and I reiterated my view that the notion of rigorous crowdsourced contracts is a pipe dream.

But a contract-drafting contest is a good idea. Heck, I said so myself in this post. Some suggestions for future competitions: Give people more advance notice. Make the prize bigger. Eliminate all boilerplate, so people can’t just copy from their own contracts. In fact, instead of having people redraft a contract, present them with a fact pattern and have them draft contract provisions that address it. And judge entrants on how well they comply with a set of contract-drafting guidelines. Hmm, I wonder what they could use as a set of guidelines …

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.