Category: Language

Contractions in contracts

I was chatting to Jeremy who havd reviewed one of my template contracts. He was fine with its content but said he would be even less formal in his contract/proposal; in particular he would use contractions. So where I had written I will he would use I’ll. I didn’t disagree

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Trust and the wrong tone

Dominic Cummings, a UK Government advisor, was outed for an ill-conceived trip to Barnard Castle during the Spring 2020 lockdown (a place which ought to be famous for its mechanical silver swan rather than policital shenanigans). In his statement, he made a series of increasingly bizarre claims about testing his

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Legal Design for User Needs

I have gone back to school – in December 2018 I joined the Legal Creatives Academy, an on-line legal design school run by Tessa Manuello. Her multi-faceted approach to legal creativity is not based on innovation for the sake of it. It is not designed primarily to save the time

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Everyone Prefers Simplicity

Christopher Trudeau (and Christine Cawthorne) have repeated their 2010 study of preferences in legal documents and communication to find out how lawyers can better serve their clients and the wider community. The conclusions? Their 2017 report says: clear legal communication is vitally important legal information is very widespread (with 80%

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Contracts: Classic Cognitive Overload

Have you ever read something for a particular interest or need, and realised it applied to your pet topic? That’s what’s happening as I read Presentation Genius by Simon Raybould. Although it’s about how you can become a presentation genius, it has plenty of applications to contracts. This post looks

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Needless Long Words

I have read dozens of academic papers, I am often struck by how they morph into technical jargon and long words. I was told by one lecturer that they have to be impenetrable “it’s what’s expected”! Heck, I even wrote one myself on limits and incentives in letters of intent

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Digital Contracts: Language

Although 86% of the audience at the 2017 CoMIT Conference did not think language was the biggest barrier to digital contracts, we cannot automate our current contracts. The problems include: Jargon: the legal language is one-sided and full of jargon so the obligations are not universally understood within our industry,

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Barriers to BIM

The Winfield Rock Report Overcoming the Legal and Contractual Barriers of BIM [available here] is a great step-forward in explaining both the essentials of BIM and the barriers to its adoption. As a contract and plain language specialist, the Report chimes with my experience: too much jargon too many initialisms

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Piecing Together the Contract Puzzle

Early in 2018 on twitter, plain language expert Dominique Joseph (@clearerworld), Tim Cummins (@tcummins from the IACCM), Ken Adams (@KonciseD) watched closely by Stefania Passera (@StewieKee), asked who was doing a good job of making contracts more user-friendly? Initially, we got side-tracked because Dom had framed her question to ask

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Mr Men vs Ms Contract Writer

I love the Mr Men books by Roger Hargreaves. Not so much for their stories (bad turns to good) but for the simplicity of the illustrations. As Roger Hargreaves’ wikipedia entry says the books were simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations … part of popular culture

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