Down With Unwieldy Contract Titles!

Yesterday I encountered a contract that had this title:


I find such titles annoying. Imagine having to say, for example, “Did you receive the revised license, supply, marketing, and distribution agreement”? Inevitably you’d end up calling it something else. So give it a different title.

You could give it a broader conceptual title. I don’t know, perhaps DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT.

Or you could simply use the nickname that you would have otherwise used.

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.

7 thoughts on “Down With Unwieldy Contract Titles!”

  1. Ken, sometimes clients are bit crazy and they prefer to give their contract such names as you mentioned. But I concurr with you and think that shorter names are better. But I did not understand your suggestion regarding nicknames.

  2. Dear Ken, after reading your blog for a while finally I purchased your manual of style for contract drafting two days ago! :)

    And already got a question related to agreement titles.

    Could you briefly explain the rationale for not including party names in the titles, as stated in your manual, section 2.2? (my company (a Japanese company) lawyers often prefer putting party names in agreement titles, so I decided to ask you first before approaching them with the statement in the manual).

    • Hi Akmal. I hope that so far you think you’re getting your money’s worth!

      Putting all party names in the title would in effect turn the title into something resembling the introductory clause. That seems pointless, as the introductory clause is just below the title.

      In a commercial contract one party (the selling party) might want to have just its name in the title, for branding purposes. I suggest that branding is better accomplished by putting a logo on the first page.

      • Dear Ken, many thanks for your prompt reply, I got the point.

        I looked into some contracts at hand and realized your point is more evident when there are more than two parties to the contract with the title becoming several lines long.

        Regarding the manual, the more I read the more I feel it was a good idea to make this purchase. Thanks.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.