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Hackers and Painters and Lawyers
> Perhaps a more interesting question would be "Do the best lawyers
> draft contracts in pairs", since I imagine that a legal document *can*
> have subtle "bugs", which would be easier to spot with two sets of
> eyes. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they do.
As an attorney I'd be happy to field this one.
All but the richest clients would refuse to pay for two lawyers drafting contracts in pairs.
What generally happens is that each firm has a collections of prewritten contracts and chunks of contracts that it glues together with "document assembly" software packages. These programs are mini-expert systems that ask the lawyers questions and splice in the right legal language based on the answers provided.
Usually these systems start with generic commercially provided standared froms from legal publishers and are then customized in house by expert contract consel. Then Junior associates handle the first pass of using the programs to create a draft. The draft gets handed off to someone with a medium level of expertise to customize it and then any questionable parts get run by a real expert. The contract is then shown to the other side whose lawyers suggest additioanl changes and after a period of negotiation the final document is signed off on by both sides.
Throughout, contract clauses that have already been litigated and interpreted by the courts are used whenever possible, since novelty of language equals potential ambiguity that can lead to expensive litigation down the road.
All in all, legal drafting looks a lot like software reuse.
Peter J. Wasilko, Esq.
Executive Director, The Institute for End User Computing, Inc.
Visit us on the web at: http://www.ieuc.org
Its time to abandon brittle architectures with poorly factored
interfaces, gratuitous complexity, and kludged designs dominated
by sacrifices on the altar of backwards compatibility.
Such artifacts are vulnerable to cyber-attack, weigh down the
economy costing trillions of dollars in lost productivity, and
suffer from an impoverished conceptual model that lacks the
integration and elegance needed to empower end users to
get the most from advanced applications in the future.
The Institute for End User Computing --- Pursuing Secure, Simple,
Supple, & Sophisticated Systems to Unlock Our Human Potential
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