The Ten—Uh, 11—Commandments of Drafting Business Contracts

Inspired by this morning’s post about not making contract language too informal, here are my 11 commandments for drafting business contracts:

  1. Contract language should be clear.
  2. Contract language should be only as complicated as it needs to be.
  3. Contract language should be precise.
  4. Contract language should omit redundancy.
  5. Contract language shouldn’t say the same thing twice.
  6. Contract language should be consistent in expression.
  7. A contract should express the transaction in an orderly and accessible way.
  8. Contract language shouldn’t seek to explain, tell a story, or persuade.
  9. Contract language should be restrained in attempting to preempt judicial discretion.
  10. Contract language shouldn’t have to be interpreted.
  11. Contract language shouldn’t be too informal.

You’ll have to provide your own tablet!

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.