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For Those Who Were Wondering

I read all the lessons of Katie Lane¹’s How To Read Contracts free e-course last week, and they were great. Really, realy great. Like, I can’t believe they’re free levels of great. It started with Don’t Read The Contract, then progressed through lessons on How To Mark That Shit Up, How To Prioritize Revisions, and Tips And Tricks To Make This All Easier. I don’t have to do any contracts on a regular basis², but if I do have to pay attention to one, you can bet that I’m reviewing these lessons first.

But what happens when I’ve reached the limits of my knowledge? Lane had that thought too, and surprisingly her response isn’t Pay me money to handle it, I’m a lawyer. Her response was, extra surprisingly, to set out a solution that may very well cost her business:

I want to help, especially in situations where the contract is written in an unnecessarily confusing way. I know I can translate that nonsense into Real People language. I just don’t have the time to do it one-on-one.

But I don’t necessarily think you need an attorney’s input on a contract that will pay you a couple hundred dollars for work you don’t particularly care about.

I also don’t think that your only options should be “Attorney” or “No Attorney, Sign and Hope Everything is OK.”

For the last couple of years I’ve been talking about making a tool that would address this exact problem. It would help artists and freelancers read and understand their contracts. An alternative to the Hire an Attorney/Hold Your Nose and Sign dichotomy.

My first few attempts to make the tool were duds. Everything I came up with was too long or too complex (or both). They didn’t make reviewing a contract easier, they just make it more straight forward.

But after a lot of trial and error, I think I’ve found the solution: a simple checklist that walks you through the process of reading and understanding a contract. [emphasis original]

The Contract Checklist for Design and Drawing will be released to the wide world on Monday, which happens to be Lane’s birthday³, with extra features for those who sign up early, so keep your eye on Lane’s site and her Twitterfeed for details. And if you should happen to have a need for contract advice in areas other than Design and Drawing, she wants to know. She’s got a brief survey up about what your work/contract needs are like, so that she can work on other checklists for later release.

Katie’s one of the good ones — when she says that she’s got a tool to help you, believe her.

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¹ Light-ning Law-yer!!

² Ever.

³ Light-ning Birth-day!!

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