Sunday, 8 May 2016

What to Consider While Drafting Legal Documents?

Legal document drafting is one of the primary components of the total legal system, yet it goes unheralded and unsung. The reasons for this are twofold. It is a complete support service unlike court appearances and client interaction where legal luminaries are directly involved. 

What to Consider While Drafting Legal Documents?

Secondly, it is a tedious and time-consuming process that entails detailed research, interpretation of the finer nuances of law and an ability to put thoughts and findings on paper in a lucid and clear manner. To cut time and costs most legal firms around the world choose to spin off this activity to top outsourcing firms that approach the whole legal drafting activity in a proficient and effective manner.

The range covered by legal drafting is almost limitless. Any document, agreement or contracts fall in this gambit. Drafting of briefs and memoranda, deposition questions and outlines and discovery documents, as well as prepare interrogatories, subpoenas, and deposition notices, are a few examples. This list is only indicative and not exhaustive in nature. 
Drafting Legal Documents
  • Precedent This is going through a process that has been done before and is a form of the template on which subsequent drafting is based. For example, a lawyer who has done intensive research on particular points of law and has drafted a contract supported by it will re-use the structure when drafting another contract pertaining to a similar subject. Using the same form again to replicate successful agreements or motion is an integral part of legal document drafting.
  • Authority Great emphasis is laid on authority in legal drafting. Every agreement or contract is founded on certain points of law and that should be clearly maintained and established. This increases the credibility and acceptability of the writing. The writer must categorically mention and back up all statements and contentions with reference to the source. So important is this that different countries have laid down norms for legal citation.
  • The title of the Agreement – It is not enough just to put “Title”. Spell out in clear terms what the document is all about in a few words.
  • Identification of the concerned parties – This should be on the first page itself so that the essence of the draft is quickly understood. Giving the nomenclature such as “vendor” or “purchaser” will help matters.
  • Date of Agreement – It is not necessary that this is the date that the parties will be signing the contract. It may be an earlier date written “as of” and denotes the day that the parties agreed to enter into an agreement. But there are instances when the date plays an important role, especially in cases where the agreement expires after a certain definite period or there is a specific date for sending or renewing notices.
  • Recital – This part provides the essence of the draft and informs the relevant details of the case. It facilitates understanding of the agreement by those who are part of the agreement, but were not present when negotiations took place. However the wording must be focused on eliminating the obvious, for example, “the Purchaser has agreed to purchase” as it does nothing but wrap the draft in legal niceties.
Proofreading, carrying out legal, nonlegal and medical research and analyzing responses to discovery requests is also broadly categorized in legal drafting. Its importance can be gauged by the fact that not only law firms, but also top blue chip companies around the world today prefer to outsource this activity. They then get the best of legal expertise on one hand and time to focus on core activities on the other.

There are a lot of technicalities involved in legal writing and it is centered around expressing the views of the law in analyzing and determining legal duties and rights and to put forth the client’s perspective. In all instances, top of the line drafting of legal documents is based on while there are many types of documents that require a legal spin, there are certain specific features that need to be considered while drafting legal documents. 

This is because it is an exacting work, framed and limited by the requirements of law. While the content as such will vary depending on the need, a specific format is generally followed in case of all legal drafting. What then are the main clauses in it?

Universal Components of a legal draft
Apart from these factors, a vital point that should be considered when taking up a legal document drafting is the language of the document. Keep it simple. Putting in complicated legal jargon is not the hallmark of good drafting, the focal point should be on the client understanding clearly what you are placing before him.

The moot point then is – why should you take up the tedious process of legal drafting when you can outsource it to the legal experts and concentrate on core activities and business expansion? You’ll do well to contact Cogneesol, leaders, in the field of legal drafting. Our team of experienced lawyers has professional expertise in structuring top end legal drafts and documents. To know more send us a mail at info@cogneesol.com.

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