We try to approach contracts as business tools as well as highly functional legal documents. For example:
- We try to use framework agreements and exhibits as much as possible, so the business focus is on the scope of work, collaboration plan, or similar project-specific document, not the contract text itself.
- We try to come up with intuitive organizational schemes. They often reflect a common commercial model and take a chronological approach reflecting the life of the relationship, or sometimes a deeper design based on the relative importance of specific topics to specific potential readers.
- We sometimes begin a contract with such a set of tables, and then follow it with a set of terms and conditions, to facilitate easier completion and reference by the business people.
- We look for opportunities to include exhibits such as timelines, process maps, or other visuals, to facilitate comprehension and implementation.
- We try to take into account the nonprofit context. For example, we use recitals and other provisions to ground the contract in the client’s mission.
Here’s an example of our typical format:
Here’s an example of the table/T&C format:
Here’s an example of our typical exhibit format:
We think our approach helps increase reader utility and is consistent with the legal work we need to do in the contract.
We also try to create contract worksheets, summaries, checklists, calendars, and talking points when appropriate to support client planning, and client and counter-party understanding and execution. The incubator program summary (fashion) is an example of such a document.