In his book "Legal Writing: Sense & Nonsense", the late David Mellinkoff wrote "after six hundred years of lawsuits caused by language atrocities, a suspicion is born. Maybe the lawyers don't understand each other". The world has issues with legalese. Especially so with contracts, which are written mostly by lawyers, for lawyers. They are not drafted keeping in mind the end-user, who feels alienated from the process and the end-product, and does not engage. In the article here, we contend that this should change. We draw on our practical experience and provide examples of design elements to make contracts user-friendly. These elements include FAQs, one-line explainers, illustrations, timelines, flowcharts and even a comic script. In the article, we lay out a simple test to gauge how effective a contract is. Ask, "Can a thirteen year old understand this?" If not, we recommend taking another stab at it. If you want to raise the bar, ask, "Will this contract delight a thirteen year old?" If so, you have a work of art!
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