RE: writing drafts of legal documents?

Subject: RE: writing drafts of legal documents?
From: "Gilger.John" <JGilger -at- acresgaming -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 16:15:44 -0700

Be blunt with your managers. They are stupid.

The reason one hires lawyers to draft these documents is to ensure that when
problems arise and arguments move into the court room, the company is
protected and on firm legal ground.

Unless your managers are the sole proprietors of the business, I would
imagine that your company's shareholders/investors would be tremendously
disturbed by this penny wise, pound foolish attitude.

If your managers still want you to draft their legal documents, here is a
place to start your search for examples:

You might want to ask an attorney if this would be classified as practicing
law without a license. That could get you off the hook with the boss ;)

John Gilger
Senior Technical Writer
Acres Gaming, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: anon [mailto:unknownidca -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2001 03:59 PM
Subject: writing drafts of legal documents?

I'd like to thank everyone who responded to my post
about ethics and morals in documentation. It was a
extremely interesting discussion.

I have another, potentially more serious, situation on
my hands and this time I need advice.

I am being asked to write the drafts of my company's
legal documents. These documents run the gamut from
the innocuous 'terms and conditions' of product use,
to more mission-critical sales contracts and
consulting agreements.

My managers have been quite blunt about they need me
to write these documents: they can't (or won't) afford
to spend thousands of dollars for lawyers to write
these documents from scratch.

All of my instincts are telling me that I shouldn't be
writing the drafts of any legal documents. I have been
reassured that a lawyer will review any document I
write, but there is no guarantee that the documents
will be reviewed by the company's legal counsel. In
fact, I suspect that anything I write will be
immediately put into use.

For those of you with experience in this area - What
are the legal ramifications for the author of a legal
document if the author makes a mistake? Is this a task
that can legitimately be assigned to a technical
writer with no business or legal experience? If not,
how would you handle such a situation (short of
leaving the company)?


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