How to Draft Legal Documents..Want Some Tips?
Creating legal documents is called drafting. The name itself contains hints on how to do it. ‘Drafting’ implies that there are several drafts before a final document is produced. This applies equally to documents that are signed by just one person, such as a will or power of attorney, and documents that are signed by several people, such as contracts and shareholder agreements.
Legal Documents that are signed by more than one person, contracts and deeds of all sorts, normally have more than one person acting in the drafting process. One solicitor creates the first draft and gives it to the other parties’ to approve. Solicitors acting for the other parties normally make some amendments. The art in making the first draft is to give your client all the possible advantages possible, without making it so lop-sided that the document will need extensive redrafting. Striking the right balance takes experience and knowing what the normal practice is. For example, in commercial leasing it is the normal practice for the landlord to put all their costs onto the tenant. Acting for a landlord involves asking for all the possible advantages that your client is legally entitled to. Acting for a tenant involves asking for some of these terms to be dropped in favour of the tenant. Knowing what terms are normally negotiable and which are not can save a lot of time, effort and expense in negotiation.
Drafting Legal Document Tips:
- Do a first draft and leave it. Good documents are seldom created in one sitting. Letting it sit overnight and looking at your draft the next day will allow you to see the unnecessary words and things you may have left out in your first draft.
- Begin with a good precedent. Good lawyers never draft anything from scratch. Find a precedent that most closely approximates the document you need. You might need to find a second or third document from which to borrow various clauses. Expect that your document will need some customisation.
- Get help when you need it. Legal documents create serious obligations that can last a long time. If you have any doubts ask a colleague at it.
Author: Kalde Legal