What Incremental Change Looks Like, Part 2

I keep my eye open for signs that MSCD-compliant language is seeping into contracts. For example, last week while rooting around on Edgar, I noticed a contract that uses my force majeure language. (Go here for my force majeure language.)

But if I were looking for A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting to quickly result in sweeping change, I’d be disappointed. That’s something I discuss in this 2017 post, prompted by a commenter who said that MSCD had failed and that my ideas had been rejected.

Instead, I’m more interested in signs of systemic buy-in, beyond how many books are sold and how many seminars I give. That’s something I first wrote about in this 2013 post. (It’s because of that post that this post is “Part 2.”)

In that regard, last week I received an email from someone in BigLaw that included the following:

First off, great book. As a real estate department we bought copies of the fourth edition for all of our junior associates and each month at the department lunch we have them present a new drafting tip to the group.

I’ll take that as another gratifying sign of systemic buy-in. I remain optimistic that as long as contracts matter and the rule of law prevails, people will increasingly turn to MSCD as an alternative to chaos and misbegotten conventional wisdom.

There are ways to hasten change, but that’s a different conversation.

Of course, all this is of limited relevance to the individual MSCD reader. You don’t have to wait for MSCD to win some sort of popular vote before making your contracts clearer by applying MSCD guidelines.

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.