Stray Thoughts on Publication of MSCD3

The third edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting is now on sale, and the ABA is unleashing on the world an email campaign to that effect. The book is still technically in “pre-order” status, but copies will be in inventory next week (the week of February 11). Go to this page of the ABA Web Store to admire the cover and read the table of contents, preface, and introduction. Until at least September, the ABA Web Store will be the only place to buy the book.

On this non-momentous occasion, here’s what comes to mind:

  • This is not one of those lame new editions, with only just enough new material to warrant its existence. Just as the second edition was a big step up from the first edition, the third edition is a big step up from the second edition. For one thing, it’s one-third longer.
  • A reader asked me why I felt the need to inflict a new edition on the world—after all, contracts practice can’t have changed that much in five years! That’s correct, it hasn’t changed that much, but my understand has. The preface (here) begins with a chapter-by-chapter summary of what’s new.
  • I expect that in the next few weeks we’ll start on the ebook version, to be sold through iTunes.
  • I’ve been mulling over a tagline for the third edition: “If you’re not using it, you’re winging it.” Catchy!
  • Because I received comments from a squad of astute volunteers, the third edition reads much better than the second edition and has fewer glitches. Doubtless I missed some things, and doubtless some new glitches were introduced during typesetting. If you find any, please let me know.
  • I already expect that there will be a fourth edition. But I don’t expect it to be as dramatic an upgrade as this edition, unless I expand its scope.
  • Indeed, I think that with publication of the third edition, I can now shift my emphasis from establishing guidelines to applying them. In 2013, I want to get more practical. I want to revise more company templates. I want to automate more contracts.

I’d like to hear what you think of the third edition. In a few weeks I’ll do a blog post inviting feedback.

 

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.