This is from the introduction to the fourth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting:
This manual might seem like a style guide, but it’s too lengthy and too detailed to be used by all contracts personnel in your organization. Instead, this manual would likely be appropriate for those who work extensively with contract language.
But it’s suitable as a foundation for a style guide. That’s why the author of this manual expects to publish with the American Bar Association a shorter work entitled Drafting Clearer Contracts: A Concise Style Guide for Organizations. It makes sense for one style guide to become the accepted standard, in the manner of The Chicago Manual of Style, which is widely used in the United States for general publishing. Time will tell if Drafting Clearer Contracts serves that function for contract drafting.
Since I’ve publicly announced this new book, I had better start writing it. Can I interest you in helping out?
For Drafting Clearer Contracts to be successful as a style guide, it has to contain the right mix of information and present it in the right way. I don’t necessarily know what that means: as you might have noticed, I’m something of a completist, and this new project will largely involve selectively omitting information. And I’ve been on the sidelines for a long time; others might have a better sense of what contracts personnel would find useful.
MSCD has benefited greatly from reader input over the years. The new book should too.
If you’d like to be considered for a working group that will offer ideas and review drafts, I suggest you peruse a copy of the third or, ideally, the fourth edition of MSCD and think about what information you’d like to see in Drafting Clearer Contracts, and in what form. Regarding how information should be presented in Drafting Clearer Contracts, I suggest you consult, for inspiration, any books that you think succeed in making technical information accessible. Then email me your ideas. Bear in mind that like MSCD, the new book will be international in scope, so I’d welcome input from all over.
The only reward would be whatever interest the process itself holds. And perhaps a pizza party.