Reputation Matters

In modern discourse, it’s increasingly important not just to be right, but to be seen to be right.

There’s no shortage of people offering, online, debatable interpretations of contract-drafting issues. And every few weeks, another questionable analysis is added to the pile. That increases the clamor in the marketplace of ideas, with the result that it’s harder to distinguish good ideas from the less good.

The best way to reduce such distraction is to establish a reputation. That’s because consulting any kind of authority involves a leap of faith. People will have limited time and expertise to select from among competing ideas by performing their own analysis, so they’ll likely be swayed by the reputation, or lack of reputation, of those offering ideas.

That’s part of the reason why I keep blogging, writing articles, and traveling around the world giving seminars. It helps drown out the chatter.

And it follows that unless they have a reputation that affords them a decent soapbox in the marketplace of ideas, no purpose is served by my critiquing everyone who puts online a questionable bit of contract-drafting advice.

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.