What is Contract drafting?
Drafting and writing a contract does not need to be a complicated task. While it can, from the outset, be intimidating, if you follow a few basic rules each time you draft a contract, the process will become easier and easier. Contracts are created on building blocks and if you break them down into manageable pieces, while using simple language, a legally binding agreement can be established.
However, that is all very easy to say. Doing, is another matter. Bearing that in mind, we look at contract drafting here and what they did not teach you in law school. We explain clearly what contract drafting is and how to write a contract in our modern day. For, it is possible to use a manual style for contract drafting or you could make use of a template or even automate the drafting process in certain instances.
What is contract drafting?
Before exploring what exactly contract drafting is, it is important to go over what a contract is initially. A contract identifies the terms, conditions and obligations of the parties involved in a mutual agreement. As a result, drafting a contract is getting a contract to the stage where both parties are happy to sign the final agreement.
Drafting a contract therefore involves a great deal of collaboration and teamwork between relevant parties. Negotiations over a contract are exceedingly common and it is not unusual for contracts to go through several drafts before finally being signed - particularly complex, highly individualized agreements. Contract drafting is a way that all parties can have their voices and opinions heard on what to include in a final document. They will want to discuss the duties and responsibilities required of both sides of the contract to ensure that the contract meets their needs and requirements.
While contract drafting, can therefore, take time throughout the negotiation stage, it is an important part of the process. It means that a good working relationship between parties can be established from the outset - based on respect and taking on board one another’s viewpoints. It also means that when the contract is finally signed, all parties know what their legal rights and obligations are. Fulfilling a contract’s intention is therefore far more likely and future legal disputes are therefore less likely to occur.
To summarize, the intention of contract drafting is to create a legally binding agreement which outlines both parties’ wants and needs as clearly and directly as possible.
How to write a contract
Knowing what contract drafting is helps inform the process of how to write a contract. In the past, there was only one way to write a contract which was to draft one from the outset yourself. Such a manual style for contract drafting is and was capable of producing high quality contracts. However, it is and was prone to error. And, depending on the people writing the contract, a large difference in the end standard of a contract could occur.
As a result, using a template can be a far better way to draft a contract - particularly contracts that are highly repetitive and standardized for a company. It means that creating a contract is far quicker - with errors minimized as no incorrect copying between contracts takes place. A digital template can, instead, simply be populated and updated with the relevant information needed for a specific contract.
In addition to templates, contracts can actually be drafted through auto generation - thus taking out even the need to populate and edit contracts for specific needs. And, document auto generation can occur with minimal human intervention - if any at all. The result? Updated contracts - for example at renewal dates of agreements - are automatically sent out without a person themselves needing to oversee the process. Doing so leaves individuals with more time to spend on tasks where they can add real value, as opposed to wasting time on a simple, administrative activity.
Overall takeaways to contract drafting: how and why lawyers do what they do
Lawyers are in no doubt needed to help create strong legal documents. However, their use can be leveraged so much more when more simple tasks like straightforward contract drafting can be taken care of through templates and through auto document generation. Plus, both of these elements to contract drafting can be supported by automation too when documents are digitized. Using contract management software and templates like ours at Contractbook means that lawyers can free up their time to spend it better elsewhere, while contracts that are created are more reliable and completed more quickly. Which is, ultimately, a win win situation for all involved.