Is What I Do “Opinion”?

Recently on Twitter, Lawrence Hsieh (aka@ContractAdviser) compared me to longtime sports-radio provocateur Mike Francesa. And the next day a reader emailed me to say, among other things, “I like reading your comments but you are, I have to say it, opinionated!”

So am I just spouting opinion?

First, let’s get our terminology straight.

On the one hand, there are facts—information that can be objectively verified. On the other hand, there’s opinion—any belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. Opinion is what you offer when you don’t have all the facts. Or when you’re using subjective criteria. Or when you’re making a prediction.

When I assess a given usage, a piece of drafting, or a particular approach to the drafting process, what I do is offer value judgments: What works, what doesn’t work. Whether X is more efficient than Y. That’s not equivalent to Mike Francesa suggesting whether a given trade will work out for the Yankees. Instead, I’m stating facts, although I’m sure you’ll find some opinion here and there.

If you think I have my facts wrong—it’s been known to happen!—let me know. But facts, right or wrong, are different from opinion. And @ContractAdviser recognized that in saying about me, in his Francesa-related tweet, “you might not like what you hear, but he’s correct most of the time.” Opinions aren’t correct or incorrect—facts are.

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.