Dual Verb Structures: “Be and Hereby Is”

In the impeachment proceedings before the U.S. Senate yesterday, Chief Justice Roberts announced that Trump “be, and he is hereby, acquitted.”

Given my recent interest in dual verb structures (see this post, this post, and this post), I thought it appropriate to revisit be and hereby is.

I wrote about it in this 2007 post, in which I called it “the lamest drafting usage.” And I said this about it in chapter 20 (Drafting Corporate Resolutions) of the third edition of MSCD (I dropped that chapter from the fourth edition):

More often than not, drafters have a board of directors resolve that each officer of the corporation be, and hereby is, authorized. … This bizarre usage has resolve acting as both a factual and a suasive verb: be authorized is in the mandative subjunctive and is consistent with use of resolve as a suasive verb; is authorized is in the indicative and is consistent with use of resolve as a factual verb. This results in an inherent contradiction: if you are, by means of a performative resolution, conferring authority on someone, it makes no sense in that same resolution to use suasive language to convey an intention to authorize that person at some time in the future. You should use only performative resolutions to confer authority. Drafters also use this inappropriate dual structure with directing and ratifying performative resolutions, and the same analysis applies.

But MSCD doesn’t mention use in contracts of be and hereby is and its variants (be and is hereby, and be and it is hereby, and with or without commas and parentheses, and so on). Let’s look at that now.

First, you see it in provisions that appear copy-and-pasted from corporate resolutions. Use instead just language of performance, without having it be modified by intend, which doesn’t make sense. And you might as well use the active voice (added language in brackets; deletions in strikethrough):

WHEREAS, the parties hereto intend that the Merger (as defined herein) shall qualify as a “reorganization” within the meaning of Section 368(a) of the IRC (as defined herein) for federal income tax purposes and [the parties] that this Agreement be and is hereby adopted [this agreement] as a “plan of reorganization” for purposes of Sections 354 and 361 of the IRC;

The semantics work, but I leave it to others to decide whether this arrangement makes sense substantively.

You also see be and hereby is in amendments. Here too, use just language of performance:

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and mutual covenants contained herein, the parties hereto hereby agree that, subject to the satisfaction of the conditions set forth in Section 4.1, the Existing Credit Agreement (as defined herein) shall be and hereby is amended and restated in its entirety as follows:

Section 1(c) of the Employment Agreement be and hereby is deleted in its entirety and replaced in full by the following:

Sometimes you see it with language of performance that should in fact be language of discretion:

The Canadian Lender shall be and it is hereby authorized to [may] act on behalf of Canadian Borrower upon and in compliance with instructions communicated to the Canadian Lender as provided herein if the Canadian Lender reasonably believes such instructions to be genuine.

It’s also used not to memorialize an action effective on signing the agreement but just to say the way things are. In other words, you should use instead language of policy:

The Company initially appoints the Trustee as Registrar and Paying Agent for the Debentures and the Corporate Trust Office of the Trustee be and hereby is designated as [is] the Place of Payment where the Debentures may be presented or surrendered for payment, where the Debentures may be surrendered for registration of transfer or exchange and where notices and demand to or upon the Company in respect of the Debentures and the Indenture.

However, in the event that, notwithstanding the intent of the parties expressed herein, the Conveyances hereunder will be characterized as loans and not as sales and/or contributions, then (i) this Agreement also will be deemed to be, and hereby is, a security agreement within the meaning of the UCC and other applicable law

Any and all Subordinated Debt shall be and hereby is fully subordinated to the Loan.

So another dual verb structure bites the dust.

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.