Your contract needs to work as fast as you do.
If you haven’t trimmed your contracts in a while, they could be slowing you down. Cleaning up your contracts helps get them ready for electronic processes and automated workflows.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to modernise a contract. The basics of preparing an agreement for electronic contracting are presented in the below checklist.
If you want more ideas, tips, and templates for electronic contracting head be sure to sign up or head to the Checklist Legal resource page for a printable PDF of this checklist. I have also prepared this checklist for you in a Nozbe template (fun!).
THINGS GET OUT OF YOUR CONTRACTS NOW (OBLITERATE)
⬜ FRONT PAGES
Just get stuck into it! A heading is fine but don’t waste peoples’ time with a page turn.
Remember, most contracts are viewed electronically now. Do you need an index if your document is well structured & electronically searchable with clear headings? It might be slowing your readers down, not helping them out.
⬜ OLD FASHIONED FONTS
Depending on your readers, Times New Roman can make you look old. It’s also harder to read on a screen than a Sans Serif font. Use Arial, Calibri, Gadugi, Gill Sans… basically any Sans Serif font that is widely used will work well.
Do you really need witnesses if the contract is time stamped / geo-stamped / has 2-factor authentication? Consider ditching.
⬜ DOUBLE SIGNATORIES (execution under section 127 of the Corporations Act)
1 signature is faster than 2! Consider changing to 1 signature (e.g. section 126) but check your jurisdiction and document type.
Use Plain Language to streamline the middle of the Reverse Contract Sandwich. Try word swap lists as a start if you’re new to plain language e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_plain_English_words_and_phrases.
⬜ LONG SENTENCES
Keep it short. More than 20 words in a sentence is too many. Aim for around 15 words per sentence.
⬜ ALWAYS NEGOTIATED
If the same suspects keep rolling around, try softening your position. Leads to a better customer experience and saves time.
KEEP BUT MOVE (OPTIMISE AND OUTSOURCE)
⬜ TERMS THAT CHANGE
If terms throughout your agreement need to change (e.g. definitions, initial term clauses, company names, etc.) or are regularly negotiated (e.g. payment terms, performance targets, exclusivity), get them up the front into your Key Details table.
Pricing, commissions, targets… if it involves numbers, it’s likely to change. Create standard tiers & stick in Schedules at the back of the Reverse Sandwich.
⬜ NEGOTIATED SPECIAL TERMS
Stop editing inside the agreement. No one can pick up that document later & see how it was negotiated. Apply Reverse Sandwich Contracting methods. Put changes to standard document up front so they are easy to see. Consider ‘standard’ negotiated special conditions (better if lots of changes are often made) and/or a special conditions Schedule.
What do you do to make your contract more efficient?
How do you prepare contracts for electronic processes?
Want some more information on modernising your contracts?
» Get this checklist in a Nozbe template.
» See the Checklist Legal resource page for lots of electronic contract templates.