Update on LawInsider.com

In this 2013 post I wrote about LawInsider.com, a searchable database of the SEC’s EDGAR system. I followed that with an update in this July 2014 post. In each case, the guy behind LawInsider.com, Preston Clark, chimed in with comments.

Well, Preston recently let me know that a “clause search” function has been added to LawInsider.com. Preston describes it in the short video below:

YouTube video

Given the features that LawInsider.com offers for free, given that searching EDGAR on Lexis and Westlaw is not compelling, and given that Preston appears engaged and committed, LawInsider.com is becoming increasingly plausible as a resource. Preston mentioned that he aims to roll out premium upgrades sometime in 2015.

I invite you to let me (and Preston) know what you think.

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.

5 thoughts on “Update on LawInsider.com”

  1. I like the clause search feature. Of course I hate the clauses themselves, for all the usual reasons, but that’s not Preston’s fault.

    • Thanks, Vance. I saw your comment on the video and replied there as well. It’s true, not much I can do about the quality of the docs themselves, unfortunately. As you use the clause tool, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

  2. I’ve had a colloquy with Preston on his YouTube page, but it might be useful to port that here. He asked if I could explain how I saw value in the EDGAR database as “raw material” and LI’s method of searching it, in light of my dissatisfaction with the drafting employed by the contracts filed on EDGAR. I replied:

    As you may have suspected, I mean a catalogue of concepts that
    agreements ought to cover. If I find a clause that seems to fit a given
    situation, I can then rewrite it in proper style.

    For example, to test the feature, I looked for clauses that define “intellectual property” or “intellectual property rights,” which is something one often needs to do, not only in license agreements but in many other contracts nowadays. As I suspected, there weren’t any that went beyond a shopping list of things that confuse legal categories, like patents, with the actual things that embody those categories, like algorithms.

    Thus, while the search wasn’t directly fruitful for me, it certainly
    gave me (i) a body of things that could be included in exemplary lists
    when I create a more general description of what “IP” means, and (ii)
    pointers to where I need to make finer distinctions between things we
    normally consider to be IP and things on the periphery that might need
    different definitions or specific subheadings within the broader
    definition (e.g. rights of publicity).

  3. Speaking of the EDGAR system, Ken, I predict that your designation of it as ‘the [G]reat [M]anure [L]agoon’ will be up with ‘the disciplined use of “shall”‘ as a phrase that brings you fame over the years. -Wright


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