Our Guide to Designing Contracts Your Client Can Understand
Legal contracts are the center of every law firm, and they are the common touchpoint for all parties involved. Signing legal contracts means laying out all agreements, closing deals, and forging and strengthening partnerships.
Sadly, many people have bad experiences when it comes to signing contracts. They find the language difficult to understand and the many, many pages impossible to read through. For a potentially life-changing document, a contract almost never reflects the joy and humanity involved with closing a deal.
The truth is that contracts don’t have to be soulless stacks of paper that are completely detached from a business’s values and the principles of the people involved in any agreement. You can follow these simple steps to give your clients a much better experience with the contracts that they sign:
Keep It Short
One of the biggest turn-offs in legal documents is that they are too long. Simple online privacy statements are over ten pages long—and lawyers wonder why some people can’t be bothered to read something before signing it.
The easiest way to solve this problem is to reevaluate the contract designing process. Are all the clauses absolutely mandatory to the agreement? Do they all add real value to the relationship it’s meant to establish?
Surely brevity and clarity aren’t difficult values to apply when designing a contract. After all, your clients are the most critical part of the process. You need to help provide them with a much better legal experience.
Keep It Simple
It would be impossible to avoid all legal terminology when designing a contract. Of course, you and your client need an agreement to be ironclad in all situations, and legalese is necessary to ensure that all your interests are met.
Legal jargon is one of the easiest ways to turn off anyone reading your legal documents. You can make your contracts client-friendly by keeping your language as clear and concise as possible. You don’t have to stuff one document with all the legalese you can find. Again, there’s nothing wrong with going through your existing contracts and finding ways to make it more simple and easy to understand.
Think Of Your Audience
Contracts are not just for lawyers—they’re for the people who sign them, too. Lawyers have years of schooling and experience under their belt that will never be available for the average person. People cannot be expected to parse such dense, complicated information like it’s a newspaper or a bedtime story.
When designing a contract, you should think of your audience. The contract should serve them and the life-changing venture they’re entering. Focus on the purpose of the contract, and make it easy for all parties to reach an agreement and secure an outcome that benefits them.
Don’t Hide Details
One way to make the contract management process easy for your client is to be as transparent as possible. You should put all important details at the very beginning of the legal document so all parties can make the most informed decision.
Signing contracts can be a complicated and intimidating process for many people. A dozen pages of legalese will take the average person days or even weeks to parse completely. This creates a bottleneck for the business processes that a contract is supposed to serve. These four simple tips will help you create legal documents that your clients can understand from beginning to end.
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