Category: Language

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 (read the live blog) 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

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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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Shall Must or Will

Much has been written about the words that contract writers should adopt to portray an obligation. Is it shall, must or will? Here’s a summary of the expert views: Ken Adams proposes a disciplined use of shall (banishing shall from business contracts) with must and will for non-party obligations or

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Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity

The rule for simplicity [read more] is neatly espoused by Joseph Pulitzer: Put it to them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light As a lawyer and

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