Where’s the “Efforts” (or “Endeavours”) Outrage?

In July my law-review article on efforts (aka endeavours) provisions was published. (PDF here.) It’s about as contrarian as the subject matter allows. I beat the tar out of the conventional wisdom that the U.S. dealmaking establishment still clutches like a moth-eaten teddy bear. And I discuss in gruesome detail the preposterous positions adopted by English courts and accepted by English law firms.

A bunch of people have clicked on the link for the article, a few people have said nice things online and in emails to me, and I know of one BigLaw partner who sent it to their clients. But that’s pretty much it. What explains the relative silence?

I don’t attribute it to some sort of frosty hauteur. Instead, I’ve come to expect this sort of muted response. And it’s not just my stuff that gets this treatment. For example, it appears that no one other than me has bothered to write a real review of Bryan Garner’s book on contract drafting. (My review is here.)

The reality is that few people have any appetite for getting caught up in the nuances of contract language. Those who find value in what I do will flip through my efforts article, get what they need, and move on. For most others, expediency is the order of the day, as they’re riding the copy-and-paste train. Get the deal done and, if you’re in private practice, get the hours billed. Real quality is an abstraction; what matters is whatever passes for quality.

So although I enjoy the give-and-take of the marketplace of ideas, I mostly have the place to myself. And that’s fine—I write to build the foundation for my own expertise, and I write for anyone else who finds it worthwhile. That’s plenty.

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.

2 thoughts on “Where’s the “Efforts” (or “Endeavours”) Outrage?”

  1. Most people won’t bother speaking up, and the ones who do will likely be the ones who disagree with you; that’s just the way of it. The evidence of your fate in the marketplace of ideas will be whether more people start doing as you say.

    • I have a slightly different take. I’m satisfied that my ideas have bested the competing ideas. What people actually do is a different matter, with what makes sense being only one factor out of many. I’m not trying to win the popular vote, just be of use to like-minded people.


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