EDGAR and Me

In mentioning in the immediately preceding post (here) the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR system, where public companies are required to file their “material” contracts, I remembered the following email I recently received from longtime reader Patrick Grant:

I get such a kick out of your descriptions of the EDGAR system I thought it would be fun to collect them in one place. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • “… the mud volcano that is the SEC’s EDGAR system”
  • “So I popped some penicillin and waded into EDGAR.”
  • “Here are some examples from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is EDGAR …”
  • “Here are some examples from the great coal-ash pond that is the SEC’s EDGAR system …”
  • “Of course I checked that great shell midden, the SEC’s EDGAR system.”
  • “So of course I turned to the EDGAR system, The place where contracts go to die.®
  • “Below are eight instances of in accordance with that I culled at random from the great compost heap that is the SEC’s EDGAR system.”
  • “I fished from the Gowanus Canal EDGAR some specimens featuring voluntarily …”
  • “Good luck relying on anything you find in, say, the great flea market that is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR system.”
  • “I searched that great manure lagoon, the SEC’s EDGAR system …”
  • “Check out the following, caught fresh in the EDGAR lagoon …”
  • “Consider the following examples from the great boneyard that is the SEC’s EDGAR system.”
  • “So this evening I turned to the grand flea market that is the SEC’s EDGAR system …”
  • “You might as well go dumpster diving on EDGAR.”
  • “Here are some examples drawn from that Lake Erie algae bloom of the contracts world, the SEC’s EDGAR system …”
  • “Here’s one example (it and the others are from that great boneyard, the SEC’s EDGAR system):”
  • “Consider the following definition of “Claim,” culled from the grand flea market that is EDGAR …”
  • Put on the hazmat suits—here are some samples from EDGAR:”

By my count, you have twice called EDGAR a “boneyard” and three times a “flea market”.

Keep the laughs coming!

There’s a point behind the inanity: Yes, EDGAR is a vast trove of contracts, and it provides me with a great way to see what people put in their contracts. And some businesses are built around making EDGAR more accessible. But always remember that it’s a hellacious mess.

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.

4 thoughts on “EDGAR and Me”

  1. Hi Ken, I stumbled across your blog from the Footnoted blog. I work for a startup that is “built around making EDGAR more accessible”. See http://www.Sentieo.com for more information about them.

    In defense of EDGAR: it is probably one of the best filing systems in the world. Almost every other filing system uses PDF documents. Unfortunately, many PDFs are not easily searchable because most PDF creation programs strip out the structure of the text. Extracting text from PDFs becomes a process similar to using optical character recognition on a scanned piece of paper. For the companies that built solutions that make these filing systems more accessible, the use of PDFs means that search isn’t 100% accurate. Another benefit of EDGAR is that there are no CAPTCHAs. As a Canadian, I am well aware of the annoyances of SEDAR.

    On my personal blog, I have some tips and tricks for EDGAR:

    In Chrome, you can add EDGAR as a search engine to reduce the number of keystrokes you need to get to a particular page.
    On the EDGAR website itself, you can filter by document type.


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