What to Put on a Cover Sheet

I’ve had occasion recently to consider cover sheets for contracts. That’s what I call the page that’s slapped on the front of a contract containing a table of contents—the first page of a table of contents isn’t what you’d want to show the world.

In my days as a law-firm foot soldier, I’d cobble together rudimentary cover sheets. They consisted essentially of the introductory clause, stretched out and centered, with the only concession to arty-fartiness being offsetting horizontal lines above and below.

I suspect that for much of the deal world that’s what cover sheets still look like. But we now have all sorts of tools to allow us to get fancier than that. And now there’s an incentive to do so, as we live in an all-marketing-all-the-time world.

As an example of what a modern cover sheet can look like, I offer you a sample from Australia, the land of contract document-design bling—a cover sheet prepared by the the law firm Clayton Utz. Besides offering the title in color—gasp!—it contains the logo and address of the law firm primarily responsible for the contract and the contact information of lawyer handling the transaction. That all seems like useful information.

If you have any cover sheets you’re particularly fond of, send them to me and I’ll add them to this post.



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.

1 thought on “What to Put on a Cover Sheet”

  1. A possible consideration:  A firm may not want to identify itself as the the firm primarily responsible for drafting a contract in order to prevent application of the canon of interpretation: contra proferentem – a contract is interpreted against the drafter. Many contracts now include specific provisions stating that both parties were represented and that contra proferentem should not apply. In that event, a firm could put its name on a cover sheet and include the contract provision over-riding contra proferentem.  One final thought: many notice provisions provide for  (complimentary/required) copies to the lawyers.


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