IACCM Proactive Law Group's Helena Haapio recognized at leading European conference
IACCM member and leader of the Proactive Law group, Helena Haapio, was selected as a finalist for the LexisNexis Best Paper Awards 2012, and her paper achieved a top three position. This achievement reflects the growing international recognition that traditional contract practices must change in order to make contracts more understandable - and thereby far better at managing risk.
Held at the recent IRIS 2012 Conference in Salzburg, the judging panel recognized Helena's paper, entitled 'Making Contracts Work for Clients; towards Greater Clarity and Usability', as one of the top three entries.
In the paper, Helena writes that 'while some contracts may need to work as evidence in court, most contracts do not. Instead, they need to work for the parties so they get the results they want to accomplish. Yet this is not what guides most of today’s contract design.'
Legally 'perfect' contracts that seek to allocate all risk to the other party, Helena observes, 'may not work as intended'. Difficulties in reading, understanding and implementing such contracts can lead to a host of business and legal problems.
This, Helena concludes, means that contract drafters must focus on the usability of both consumer contracts and commercial contracts - viewing them not just as legal tools but also as business tools. The paper goes on to highlight new methods to improve the clarity and usability of contracts, and proposes information design and visualisation - adding tables, charts, and images to supplement text - as promising new ways that can help in this venture.