Having Parties Date Their Signatures—Seeking Comments on Draft Language

In this blog post, I described how in certain circumstances you might want to date a contract by having the parties date their signatures rather than by including a date in the introductory clause. I also mentioned how adopting that approach would require that you use a different concluding clause than the one you’d use if you were to state the date in the introductory clause.

But what I didn’t mention is that you’d also be advised to include in the body of the contract something that says when the contract becomes effective. I’ve come up with some language; here it is:

This agreement will become effective when all the parties have signed it. The date this agreement is signed by the last party to sign it (as indicated by the date stated opposite [or under] that party’s signature) will be deemed the date of this agreement.

I could have made do with the first sentence, but I wanted to ensure that anyone using this language feels comfortable using the phrase the date of this agreement even in the absence of a date in the introductory clause. (Sometime soon I’ll blog about overzealous use of the defined term Effective Date.)

And I didn’t feel comfortable using just the second sentence, as I wanted to make it clear that the contract becomes effective the instant all the parties have signed it, rather than, say, midnight at the beginning of the date all the parties have signed it.

If you can improve on this language, please let me know, because I’d like to be able to use it routinely.

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.