MSCD3 Is in Production

Yesterday I sent my esteemed publisher, the Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association, the manuscript for the third edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting.

It will go on sale in early February. And yes, there will be an ebook version, although that will take a few weeks longer to prepare.

In terms of its content, the second edition was a big step up from the first. Well, the third edition will be just as big a change. That’s because over the past four years I’ve been immersed in contract language. My blogging (over 800 posts), my articles, my dozens of public and in-house seminars, my teaching at Penn Law, and my work on Koncision’s confidentiality-agreement template exposed me to new issues and allowed me to explore familiar issues in greater detail.

So the third edition will be one-third again as long. The most important chapters have been greatly expanded. For example, the chapter on categories of contract language has expanded from 199 paragraphs to 344. And the chapter on selected usages has grown from 457 paragraphs to 770. The only chapters that are largely unchanged are those at the back, for example the ones on amendments and letter agreements. And I added a new chapter 1, “The Characteristics of Optimal Contract Language.” I also took the opportunity to scrub the prose from top to bottom.

Another feature of the third edition is that I’ve aimed to make it more useful for international readers. It refers to practices in other countries, and it cites more caselaw from England, Canada, and Australia.

So I expect that MSCD will reinforce its position as the only book of its kind. As I see it, either you use MSCD, or you wing it. If you’ve found the first or second edition useful, you’ll really like the third edition.

Yes, the name is unchanged. Despite my pondering in public the possibility of a new name (here), the ABA politely but firmly told me to forget about that. They suspect that if they were to allow me to go with, say, The Adams Manual for Contract Drafting, many other authors would want to do the same.

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.