Scorn and Ridicule Won’t Get People to Change

Last month I ran the following idea by my Twitter followers:

It met with sufficient approval that I prepared a blog post entitled “Your Shit’s Fucked Up: 7 Signs of Dysfunctional Contract Templates.”

Well, I regret to say that it won’t see the light of day.

Scorn and ridicule (wielded carefully) are essential tools in my line of work. And what the heck, that sort of thing can be entertaining. But I save it for people who deserve it, and for people who can defend themselves. My proposed blog post isn’t aimed at a worthy target. Instead, it’s aimed at everyone who works with dysfunctional contract templates. That’s about 92.55% of us.

Haranguing people isn’t going to make any difference. When it comes to the mass of people working with contracts, it’s not that they’re obtusely opting for dysfunction. Instead, they’re riders on the copy-and-paste train, hanging on for dear life as it barrels down tracks, belching smoke and leaking steam, the rusty machinery rattling and clanking.

The only way to promote meaningful change is to offer an alternative. I’m trying to muster the support required to do just that.

Incidentally, what I liked best about my blog post was the title. It was inspired by this Warren Zevon song.

YouTube 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.

1 thought on “Scorn and Ridicule Won’t Get People to Change”

  1. Copy-and-paste behavior comes from one or more of: (i) lack of knowledge; (ii) insecurity about same; (iii) crossing fingers that the prior drafter(s) knew WTF they were doing; (iv) they have other demands on their time that are higher on their priority / urgency list.


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