I write and review a lot of contracts and it’s easy to slip into a mindset of paranoia and alarm. Worse yet, legalspeak often chills otherwise collaborative and constructive conversation with clients and prospects.
Prompted by this Seth Godin blog post about choosing your words, I’ve gotten in the habit of prefacing my contracts with succinct and friendly language that captures the intent and the spirit of the agreement. For example:
- Legalese: [insert typical lengthy Software Licensing Agreement here]
- Legal ease: “We wrote the software and we’ll license it to you, but it remains ours. You’re providing materials so that we can configure just for you. Those materials remain yours. If we ever part ways, each of us gives back whatever belongs to the other.”
If we must have legalese, provide a little legal ease, too