Ken Adams offers two in-house seminars, “Drafting Clearer Contracts” and “The Structure of M&A Contracts,” as well as a one-hour presentation “The Bad (and Good) News About Contract Language and the Contract Process.”
If you’d like to find out more, contact Ken. He could give you a quick online run-through of his PowerPoint presentation of the session you’re interested in.
Drafting Clearer Contracts
Ken Adams presents his “Drafting Clearer Contracts” seminar at law firms, companies, and government agencies in the U.S., Canada, and overseas.
This seminar is a uniquely rigorous overview of the building blocks of contract language and common sources of confusion. It’s based on his book A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. (For information about the book, go here.) The focus is not on what you say in a contract, but how to say clearly and concisely whatever it is you want to say. It’s suitable for all levels of seniority, as much of what Ken has to say comes as news to even senior contracts professionals. It’s structured to encourage discussion, with participants analyzing examples.
Do you think that it’s unnecessary to get someone outside your organization to provide this sort of training? Ken addresses that in this 2006 article.
Ken customizes his presentation to include examples taken from sample contracts provided by the host company. That serves to make the seminar all the more relevant.
Ken offers this seminar in day-long, 4.5-hour, and 3-hour versions; following are links to a sample day-long agenda, 4.5-hour agenda, and 3-hour agenda. Occasionally he does even shorter versions. The day-long version version of this seminar includes a redrafting exercise.
Here’s what some people have said about the in-house “Drafting Clearer Contracts” seminar:
No one has done more clear and disciplined thinking about more troublesome aspects of contract drafting than Ken Adams. His best-selling ABA book is the most comprehensive and incisive work out there and an important contribution to the practice. The presentation Ken made to our lawyers brought the key points home. Using examples from our own work-product to illustrate his points, Ken made everyone sit up and take notice. He forces you to face, in a clear-eyed manner, the redundancies, inefficiencies, anachronisms, inconsistencies and imprecisions that weaken contract drafting at even the best firms. If you are ready to take contract drafting to the next step, read his book and contact him.
Bryn Vaaler · Professional Services Partner · Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Ken Adams has continually presented a great “Drafting Clearer Contracts” training program for our associates. His sessions are extremely clear and organized and participants always come away with useful take-aways.
Lori Thomas · Professional Development Manager · Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
Although I’ve spent a significant part of my practice drafting documents, Ken Adams’s hands-on program reminded me of important issues that often get buried in verbiage, and it taught me new thought and drafting skills. For example, using his “categories of contract language” to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish in a given provision helped me think about “shall” and “must” in a new way. His exercises were stimulating, interesting, on point, and current. A great set of materials and a lot of fun!
Timothy J. Tyler · Counsel · Vinson & Elkins LLP
Advanced Categories of Contract Language
“The categories of contract language” is Ken’s term for issues relating to use of verb structures in contracts, including how to express obligations, the distinction between obligations and conditions, and appropriate use of the word shall, among many others. Handling the categories of contract language effectively is the foundation of controlled drafting.
About an hour of the “Drafting Clearer Contracts” seminar is devoted to the categories of contract language, but necessarily that’s only an introduction. Organizations that have Ken do a “Drafting Clearer Contracts” seminar have the option of adding on (either the day after the “Drafting Clearer Contracts” seminar or sometime later) a 3.5-hour session on “Advanced Categories of Contract Language.” Most of this session would consist of going through a 30-question multiple-choice quiz, with participants using their cell phones to vote on which answer they’d choose, followed by discussion of each option and why it works or doesn’t work. That would be followed by analysis of categories-of-contract-language shortcomings in a sample commercial contract.
The Bad (and Good) News About Contract Language and the Contract Process
In addition to his seminars, Ken offers a one-hour presentation on problems with traditional contract language and the traditional contract process and how organizations can address those problems. It features compelling examples drawn from Ken’s dozen years as a speaker, consultant, writer, and teacher at the forefront of his subject. Fifteen minutes are devoted to a question-and-answer session.
This presentation would be suitable for a lunchtime session, and it could be conducted in person or by webcam (using Skype, Google+, or a comparable service).