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Contracts You Can Understand

May 22, 2013

Research shows that a majority of people dislike contracts because they cannot understand them.

When you think about how important a contract can be – the effect it can have on people or their business – this is quite an indictment. Surely it must be in everyone’s interests to produce contracts that are clear and offer a useful source of guidance.

Regular followers of this blog and of IACCM will be aware of the support we are giving to the proactive law movement and its work to encourage more useable contracts. Their campaign continues with an excellent article published by the Cornell University Law School.  This sets out much of the background and history related to the use of visualization in contracts and the growing role of Information Designers.

As the article points out: “Lawyers are communication professionals, even though we do not tend to think about ourselves in these terms. Most of us give advice and produce content and documents to deliver a specific message. In many cases a document — such as a piece of legislation or a contract — in itself is not the goal; its successful implementation is. Implementation, in turn, means adoption and action, often a change of behavior, on the part of the intended individuals and organizations.”

With a growing number of examples from which we can draw, there is no good reason why contracts professionals should not be leading the charge to improve the quality of contracts. Indeed, if we could make them easier to understand, many people might start to like contracts – and think what a  pleasant knock-on effect that could have for the people who write them!

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