The Dotted Line: A Visit from a Contract Elf

Here’s why your contracts can safeguard your business without annoying your clients…

‘Twas the night before signing, when all through the firm
Not a creature was stirring, bar jingle ear worms
The contracts were laid on the table with care,
In hopes contract sign-off soon would be there;
The lawyers dreamed of being all snug in their beds
While visions of duvet days danced in their heads
And Bob at her keyboard and I with mine too
Has just stoked our brains for a long night’s review
When outside the room there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Five Hundred words’ gushed my muse in a flash
That’s all you need, not these pages of trash’
A moonbeam lit up all these piled printed pages
The reading of which would take ages and ages
Was she pulling my leg or having a joke?
Was this an elaborate last minute poke?
How could complex pages and pages of words
Be condensed so small? The idea was absurd!
Next she’d be telling us that Santa is here
On a miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer!
Yet the thought took hold in my brain as she spoke
New angles and options were rudely awoke
More rapid than eagles the ideas they came,
And I whistled, and shouted and called them by name:
‘Now Clauses! Now Intent! Now Terms and Conditions!
On Simple! on Trust! on Digital Systems!
To the top of the page! To the post-it note wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all’
And then in a twinkling, I heard in my ear
The pure joy of simple: a song of good cheer
As my head burst with ideas all spinning through,
The value of short simple contracts rang true.
Few words – how they twinkled! How easy to read
The conversations they’d start, the ideas they’d breed
Imagine a contact drawn up with a bow…
I’d start with a blank page, as white as the snow.
As the idea took hold, it warmed in our bellies
And the laughter began, and we guffawed like jellies
Its truth smiled at me, like a jolly old elf
And I laughed when I saw it, in spite of myself
A wink of my eye and a twist of my head
Soon gave Bob to know she had nothing to dread
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And rewrote the contracts in five hundred words;
As leaves that before a wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So jargon and words of the contracts they flew
In piles on the floor and the pages did too.
And laying my finger aside of my nose,
And giving a nod, from my seat I arose;
I sprang to the printer with jig and a whistle,
As two pages flew out like the down of a thistle
But they heard me exclaim, as I signed contracts tonight —
“Happy Christmas to all, simple means we sleep tight!”

A blurry photograph of orange sparkly lights against a black background. Roughly in the shape of a christmas tree with a star on top. By Caleb Woods via Unsplash

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