Adding value

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Negotiation Anatomy

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The dilemma for professional services providers is how to show your positive contribution without actively destroying value.[1]

For, if I send my lawyer a 90-page indenture and it comes back unmarked, “all fine”, but accompanied by a hefty note of costs, do I feel I am getting value for money?

Generally, I do not. Even though I might be. The dog that doesn’t bark in the night-time brings me no comfort, even if there is nothing to bark at.

So, lawyers have developed techniques for making formal changes which do not alter the substance, but signal that they have indeed pored over the document, subjecting it to their unique forensic consideration — that it has been buffed and polished to a high sheen. You can spot these parenthetical statements, which we call flannel in these pages, by their tells: “for the avoidance of doubt”, “without limitation...”, “whether or not...”, or “notwithstanding the foregoing...”.

It is a paradox that, however tedious it is to have some cretin add this unnecessary heft to your draft, it is even more tedious to insist upon their removal. Thus over time legal forms tend towards barnacle-encrusted, impenetrable mush.

See also


  1. other than the value destruction that inevitably follows from your engagement in the first place — your professional fees, that is.