LegalSifter Has Global Ambitions. Hubris?




LegalSifter has customers and partners in 19 countries. Maggie Frey, our vice president, EMEA & APAC, is currently in Helsinki. And David Batt, our director of Sifter Operations, is in Poland. So we have international aspirations. What’s up with that?


Simple—it’s a small world, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t offer our products worldwide.


The language of contracts in English the world over draws from the same pool of usages, with only modest variations in terminology. That’s why I aspired to have my book A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting be a resource for anyone, wherever they’re located, who works with contracts in English. It seems I’ve succeeded—I have lots of readers outside of North America, and for many years I’ve done presentations—previously in person, now online—for groups from companies, law firms, and government agencies pretty much everywhere.


We apply that approach to our Sifters—our algorithms. They’re equipped to look for variations in terminology, including terminology unique to particular jurisdictions. (For example, our “Jurisdiction” Sifters are wise to the unusual way Canadian drafters use the word attorn; see this post on my blog.)


That covers the how-to-say-it part of contracts. What about the what-to-say part? To varying degrees, different jurisdictions have particular legal regimes that should be reflected in contracts. Obviously, we don’t cover all those variations. But we don’t have to—the odds are that, say, a services agreement used outside the United States will have enough in common with services agreements drafted in the United States for our Sifters to be of use. And we already have Sifters geared to the requirements of jurisdictions outside the United States. An example plucked at random—the Sifter Intellectual Property: Waiver of Moral Rights.


And over time, we’ll supplement our Sifters, and the advice that goes with them, to address the particular needs of different jurisdictions.