Headline is Former Tesla Lawyer Laura Frederick on How to Teach Contracting for the Real World

Podcast - Laura Appears on LawNext Podcast with Bob Ambrogi

in the news Feb 25, 2022

How should we teach lawyers and professionals about contracts?

Law schools tend focus on fundamental concepts like consideration and detrimental reliance. These concepts are very important, but don't help us know what to include in the ordering process section of a supply agreement.

Existing contract writing courses and books focus on how to say things clearly and avoid falling victim to grammar mistakes that could spell doom in some future litigation. We absolutely need to know these things to create great contracts. But those concepts won't help you figure out when you need a grant-back license or whether to add any exclusions to your limit of liability.

When I talk about teaching contracting skills for the real world, I'm focused on the end user of that skill - the lawyer or professional whose job it is to draft and negotiate a contract. I imagine them sitting at their laptop, trying to decide how to approach a particular provision. Or reviewing the counterparty's template and deciding what is worth pushing back on and what should be conceded.

It's a fundamental user design question. We should be offering training that addresses the needs that lawyers and professionals have. Grammar and wordsmithing are part of it, but I'd argue a very small part of it. I spent 26 years working in law firms and in-house on contracts and found the much bigger challenge was learning what each provision should include and when, how to evaluate what to require and what isn't necessary, and making the critical decisions about risk allocation and mitigation that enable deals to get done.

I believe contract training has been a two-legged stool for too long. Our only choices were broad legal concepts or to what wording approaches are suggested by contract case law. The missing third leg of that stool is practical contract training, helping people understand how to draft and negotiate the contracts and how to make the 100s of contract-related decisions they make each week in their jobs. We weren't teaching that.

I spent my career looking for this kind of practical training, but never found it. So I decided to create it myself, and that's how the contract training platform How to Contract came to be.

In this podcast episode, I spoke with Robert Ambrogi about contract training, what's been missing, and how we can do better as a profession by offering the contract training that helps lawyers and professionals learn what they need to work on the contracts they have to do that day.

Thanks so much Bob for having me on your show. I really enjoyed it! I encourage you to listen if you'd like to hear our conversation about this topic.