I used to hold the view that it was a good idea to use a “compressed” format for contracts, with narrow margins, long paragraphs, and small print, so as to fit on fewer physical pages. It was my experience that readers tend to react negatively when they see a document with “many” pages.
I’ve since concluded, though, that if you expect to have to negotiate the contract terms, then larger print, shorter paragraphs, and more white space:
- will make it easier for the other side to review and redline the draft — always a nice professional courtesy that might just help to earn a bit of trust; and
- will make it easier for the parties to discuss the points of disagreement during their inevitable mark-up conference call.
A more-readable contract likely will likely get you to signature more quickly, and that of course, is the goal.
(At least that’s the intermediate goal — ordinarily, the ultimate goal should be to successfully complete a transaction, or to establish a good business relationship, in which each party feels it received the benefit of its bargain and would be willing to do business with the other side again.)
Yes! Thrilled to see other attorneys acknowledge document design. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post with some pointers… maybe its time.