If a contract says that you may do something, no purpose is served by saying you may exercise that discretion “freely”—nothing suggests that the discretion granted would otherwise be somehow restricted. Nevertheless, may freely or its passive counterpart, may be freely, occur in 292 “material contracts” filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system in the past year. That doesn’t equal an epidemic, but it makes the usage worth noting. Here are some examples:
The Company may
freelyassign any or all of its rights under this Agreement, in whole or in part, to any successor entity without obtaining the consent or approval of the Restricted Holder.
Either Party may
freely,directly or indirectly use its Foreground which it owns in further research activities other than those covered by the Project
Subject to the provisions of Sections 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.10 of the Stockholders’ Agreement, this Agreement and the rights and duties of the Investor set forth herein may be
freelyassigned, in whole or in part, by the Investor.
… and no other Person shall, under any circumstances, be deemed to be a beneficiary of such conditions, any and all of which may be
freelywaived in whole or in part by any Lender at any time in such Lenders sole discretion.
It’s analogous to the equally redundant may at any time.