Why use this Library?
This library, at least in its initial iteration, focuses on collecting patterns that help design better contract documents, by offering solutions to tackle some of its most typical problems.
Of course, a contract can have many problems – in terms of content, balance, fairness, and design. Here we are looking at those of usability and understandability: problems which can easily occur and undermine the implementation of even the fairest, most balanced, legally sound, and transaction-adequate contract.
These problems may be painfully familiar to you, or to your contract users:
Contract writers’ problems
Contract readers’ problems
- People don’t read and/or don’t understand the contract
- People don’t know the key points of the contracts
- People misunderstand the contract and make mistakes during implementation – which lead to claims and disputes
- People pester the legal department with the same questions all the time
- Business colleagues are not engaged in crafting the contracts and provide their knowledge
- The contract is too long, I only have time to skim read
- I need quick answers to my questions
- I do not know where to find the information I need
- I cannot find the information I need, even if I try
- I don’t understand what this means
- I don’t understand which of these provisions apply to my case
- Contracts are probably written by lawyers for lawyers anyway, so why should I read it? It’s not addressed to me
- The contract takes too much time to negotiate
There are several good reasons for focusing on contract usability and functionality:
- Communication is often the most neglected aspect of a contract: the content may be right, but it is presented in such a way that nobody really understands what to do with it.
- The rise of technology: before digitizing and automating your templates, you need to be sure that your contracts make sense for the businesses and people using them. Avoid the garbage in / garbage out phenomenon!
- You can expand your contract creation toolbox: these design patterns complement and expand other approaches to drafting clearer contracts. You can use them with existing drafting and style guides to achieve clearer communication.
- One size does not fit all: sometimes there are great imbalances in the power of the contract parties. If you do not consider how to foster transparency, fairness, trust, and ease of doing business with in your contracts, you risk losing the relationship.
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