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The design of organisations and products

Making legal contracts a better experience
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Headline: With careful document design and a commitment to brevity, you can restrict the amount of necessary movement. The less page flipping you do, the faster you get through it.

On a physical production line, unnecessary motion is bending, stretching, reaching, walking. It all takes time and wears out parts. Motion on a contract is reading, writing, formatting and maintaining the templates. Economy of action is just as important.

If a contract has seventy pages and there are negotiable points on every page, there is a lot of movement back and forth. If you strip the economics away from the boilerplate, set out the economics in a single page term sheet, then the amount of ground the negotiators need to cover to finalise the contract is far less. and another shout out for the good people of plain English and lean, elegant legal prose, but if you can say it in five pages and not fifty, it follows that the possible motion involved is one tenth.

Oh, and learn how to use style sheets and automatic numbering, for heaven’t sake.

Summary: Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Keep the agreements short, and keep the economic terms away from the boilerplate.