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Too busy to see the iceberg?

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

With a recent (2019) Bellwether Report finding that 66% of solicitors “currently experience high levels of stress” and 76% “feel that stress / mental well-being in the legal profession is a major issue”, it is little surprise that most lawyers identify as being time-poor.

We're all too busy to do anything about the iceberg that's ahead of us.

Being time poor drives conservative behaviours. Conservative behaviours in legal circles means “throwing the kitchen sink” at a contract, for fear of missing something - as there is not enough time to better-understand whether that theoretical risk is a real-world risk.

I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time”. Variants of this phrase are widely attributed to Mark Twain. We don’t know what he actually said, or if it was indeed him that said it, but you get the sentiment.

The time is now for standardisation

@Electra Japonas makes a great point on this topic in her fantastic session on the initiative (see full video below), where she states (at around 20 minutes and 20 seconds) the effect MS Word has on drafting: “A 10-page contract can now very quickly become a 150 page contract. That’s not solving the problem… you’re just making it quicker to make the problem worse.

Longer contracts generally take longer to review, which results in longer cycle times. This is particularly the case with non-standardised contracts, where the entire content requires review to check for hidden “gotchas” buried where they shouldn’t be.

Do you agree? Our “personal best” is a 150-page master services agreement we saw for relatively low risk consulting services (for a financial services customer). Can you top that?


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