One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Special Place for Lawyers

I have recently acquired the additional, and lofty, title of 'contracts coordinator.' Please, withhold your applause. This largely consists of me comparing incoming contracts and agreements with our master agreements. I need to keep an eye out for any changes. Even the slightest modification can have huge consequences when it comes to liability and indemnification.

You see, most of our clients employ lawyers. These in turn, try to make themselves useful (and therefore worthy of their fees) by continually modifying the wording in the contracts. I stand in the frontline of defense, striving to keep my company clear of the wranglings and hassles our client's attorneys would put us through.

I have come across several examples of what these lawyers have come up with that make me laugh - and make me cry. For instance, look at this sentence:

"NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing, the mutual promises and covenants contained herein and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the parties agree to the following."

What is that? Why couldn't they just say "The parties agree to the following." I know, I know, there was some precedent set somewhere and blah, blah, blah, and some legal principle that blah, blah, blah. Still, that annoys. And get this, one of the contracts I reviewed last week had a 327 word sentence. One single, obnoxiously long sentence. I can see that I have much to learn when it comes to becoming fluent in legalese.

There are plenty of good lawyers. Some of them are friends and family. Nevertheless, I believe that in the world to come there will be a special place for lawyers - at least some types.

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