My Updated Preempt-the-Traditionalists Cover Note: Get Your Retaliation in First

MSCD guidelines mostly fly under the radar. Apart from a couple of notorious recommendations—I’m talking about you, this agreement with a small a and states instead of represents and warrants—the guidelines don’t attract attention to themselves.

But sometimes traditionalists gonna traditional, so you might get a draft back with all sorts of unhelpful traditionalist comments. As I note in this 2013 post, starting in 2009 I’ve suggested that the best way to make that less likely is to tell the other side that you’re following MSCD guidelines and that you politely recommend they not waste everyone’s time by trying to make things more traditional. When I think about this, the phrase “Get your retaliation in first” comes to mind. It was coined by the great Irish rugby player Willie John McBride, in connection with the Lions 1974 tour to South Africa. (Those circumstances were rather more brutal than what I’m talking about!)

Well, the fourth edition of MSCD contains a revised version of that cover note. It starts at the bottom of page xxxix of the introduction, which is available here. If you’ve tried my cover note or one of your own, I’d like to hear how it worked out.

If you’d like to know more about the context of “Get your retaliation in first,” there’s this article and the following video:

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.