WHY THIS, NOT THAT™ CONTRACTS | Clear Language

DO THIS

When reviewing a contract, focus on both clarity of language and clarity of purpose and intent.

NOT THAT

Focus exclusively on eliminating legalese.

WHY

Employment lawyer Matt Johnson wrote, “For many years, the plain or standard English movement has sought to eliminate “legalese.” The term ‘”plain English” is, however, generally disfavored, because the goal is not to “dumb down” legal writing, but rather to use ordinary language in a manner that is readable to professionals.”

In other words, when reviewing a contract, the problem is often not the words you are using. The problem is often how the words are put together.

I recently read a clause in a contract. Every single word in that clause was a word used in everyday speech. When I read those words together, however, I could not make heads nor tails of the clause’s meaning.

Don’t be afraid to tell the drafting party when you don’t understand something you are reading.

Sometimes it really just does not make sense!

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