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In praise of short, simple contract clauses

Inexperienced- or rushed contract drafters often write long, convoluted clauses. I’ve been as guilty as anyone on that score, and have to constantly watch myself about it. Other things being equal:

  • Short, simple clauses are less likely to be summarily rejected by a busy reviewer just because she can’t afford the time to study them.
  • Short, simple clauses ideally can be snapped in and -out of a contract draft like Lego blocks without inadvertently messing up some other section of the contract.
  • Short, simple clauses are easier to edit.
  • Conversely, short, simple clauses offer less temptation for the other side’s reviewer to tweak more language than necessary — that’s a good thing, because language tweaks take time to negotiate, which in turn causes business people to get impatient and to blame “Legal” for delaying yet another done deal.

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