Panel Discussion on Modern Contract Drafting, 7 November 2017 at UCL Faculty of Laws

Once again, this year I’ll be doing a “Drafting Clearer Contracts” seminar in London under the auspices of UCL Faculty of Laws, on 6 November. (Go here for more information.) And like last year, I’m taking the opportunity to convene a panel discussion the next day, on 7 November. (Go here for more information.)

This year’s panel discussion will be different from last year’s. The title this year is “Modern Contract Drafting: Improving Content, Upgrading Your Process, and Overcoming Inertia.” Here’s the first paragraph of the promotional text:

There’s traditional contract drafting, and then there’s a more modern approach, one that allows you to save time and money, be more competitive, and reduce the risk of dispute. UCL Faculty of Laws is hosting this event to consider how organizations can implement a modern approach to contract drafting.

Last year’s panel discussion was mostly devoted to debating whether to replace traditional contract language with something more modern. We’re not doing that this year. Instead, we’re taking it as a given that traditional contract language is dysfunctional and that we know what clear and concise contract language looks like. The question is, what do we do now? Again, from the promotional text:

Here are some of the questions that will be considered:

  • How do you ensure that your contracts use clear and consistent prose?
  • How do you overcome resistance to changing your contracts, whether from within your organization, at clients, or on the other side of deals?
  • How can technology help or hinder the transition from traditional to modern drafting?

Why the different focus? I’ve examined every which way the justifications for traditional contract language, and I’m satisfied that I’ve found them wanting. (For example, see this blog post about the notion that traditional contract language “works.”) So this year, I wanted to devote our time to other topics. That’s why I’ve shamelessly stacked the panel with like-minded cronies.

And for the sheer heck of it, we’re giving those attending this year’s event the opportunity when registering to buy, at roughly half the retail price in the US and without paying to have it shipped from the US, a copy of the new and much-expanded fourth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. (It’s being published in October.) Those who buy the book will pick up their copy at the event. But to take advantage of this offer, you have to register by 17 October, to give us time to ship the appropriate number of books.

Unlike last year’s event, this year we’ll start on time! The panel discussion will be followed by a drinks reception sponsored by Contract Express, the software that allows you to create automated contract templates, with users creating contracts by answering an annotated online questionnaire. I’ve used Contract Express for years, so I encourage you to use the drinks reception as an opportunity to find out what it has to offer.

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.

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