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Showing posts from May 29, 2016

The BUSKLAW June Newsletter: Do Your Contracts Contain "Empty" Words?

Until 1800 or so, lawyers who drafted contracts in the U.K. were called scriveners, and they were paid by the number of words in their documents. More words resulted in more money. This encouraged the use of excessive words in contracts - and the legal mumbo jumbo that plagues the legal profession to this day. 

"Empty" words in a contract are more than just unnecessary; they create ambiguity, cause confusion, incite litigation, and increase the time it takes to read and understand a contract, especially for the business folks who must understand the contract to effectively administer it.  

Most contracts (especially the forms that you can download from LegalZoom and RocketLawyer - excuse me if I don't give you the links) contain empty words, and these are some of the worst offenders:

Archaic words. At the beginning of a contract, you'll often see a paragraph with the heading "Recitals" followed by several "Whereas" clauses and concluded by a "Th…