A Checklist for Drafting Good Contracts

39 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2008

See all articles by Sam Jacobson

Sam Jacobson

Willamette University - College of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2008


The drafter of a contract wants to craft a document that accomplishes the objectives of the parties while protecting the interests of the client. To accomplish this, the drafter must be able to predict what may happen between the parties, to provide for each contingency, and to protect the client with a remedy. Often the drafter must do this quickly. While each contract involves different concerns, depending on the subject and the context, all contracts involve common requirements and considerations. With a thorough checklist of these requirements and considerations, a drafter need not reinvent the wheel with each contract. Instead, with the use of a checklist, drafters of contracts can ensure that their contracts are complete and effective.

Like any legal writing, good drafting requires knowing the law and the substance first, followed by clear organization and by writing appropriate to the audience. It also requires an artist's touch, to ensure that the design of the contract document will aid in its usability and clarity. Finally, good drafting requires critical evaluation, reading the document through the eyes of bad faith or hostile readers, and periodic review to assure that the document continues to meet the parties' needs.

Keywords: contracts, contract drafting, drafting checklist, legal writing

Suggested Citation

Jacobson, Sam, A Checklist for Drafting Good Contracts (September 15, 2008). Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Vol. 5, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1268448

Sam Jacobson (Contact Author)

Willamette University - College of Law ( email )

245 Winter St. SE
Salem, OR 97301
United States

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