The First Question to Ask About My Consulting Services

Even if you’re aware of what I do, I suspect you haven’t considered whether to hire me to redo your template contracts. Allow me to make that easier by breaking down for you the factors to bear in mind. Let’s think of them as questions.

What’s the first question? Well, I suggest it shouldn’t be, “Can Adams improve our templates?” Unless your company is truly exceptional, I can improve your templates at least significantly, and more likely dramatically. It’s what I do: I’m a specialist. I don’t have other activities to distract me, like handling your transactions. And I’m the guy who wrote the only set of guidelines for clear and concise contract language. There’s no reason why anyone who has a copy of MSCD couldn’t do as good a job as me, but if you hire me there would be no uncertainty about that.

So here’s what I’d make my first question: “Would we hire Adams to redraft our templates if we didn’t have to pay for it?” Of course that’s not going to happen, but asking the question allows you to consider the implications of improving your templates. I’d have though that absent any constraints you happen to be under, your answer would be, “Yes.”

Here’s what I’d ask as the second question: “Can we handle novelty?” There’s no point in hiring me to tweak stuff. You hire me if you want to say most effectively whatever you need to say in a contract, and it’s likely that your current templates have some way to go to achieve that. The resulting novelty can be disconcerting. At a minimum, you should consider the implications. For example, how will your customers react?

Only with the third question would I ask, “How much will it cost?” There isn’t an established market for what I do, so setting a price can require some discussion. But I have yet to lose a client over price.

If all this sounds intriguing, I suggest you contact me and arrange to send me whatever templates you’re considering revising. At no cost, I’ll give you an idea of what changes I could make.

If you’re not inclined to consider hiring me as a consultant, I suggest you ask yourself why not. If you haven’t asked me what I think of your templates, and if we haven’t discussed price, then what’s holding you back? Perhaps novelty makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps you think that that hiring an outsider would be seen as an admission of defeat in some way. Perhaps you think you’ve got it all under control, thanks. Those factors might come into play, but I suggest that they have no bearing on whether I can in fact improve your templates.

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.