January 6, 2022

What Do We Call Functional Specs for Legal Forms?seeking help naming a concept

Ansel Halliburton (GitHub, Twitter, LinkedIn) and I got thinking recently about pulling together a collection of outline-like specifications for various kinds of common legal documents. The idea would be to list out the kinds of functional components that comprise each kind of document. Trouble is, we’re not quite sure what to call those lists. They’re not quite just “outlines”. Nor are they really “checklists”, though I could seem them being reused that way.

Any goods ideas? Drop me a line.

As an example, for a typical, pre-sale, two-way NDA like Waypoint:

Paired with a database of sections that actually implement each kind of component, we could use these lists like recipes. A computer could give users their pick of specific language options for each component, like a grocery store offering different brands and flavors for each ingredient. In pulling together an NDA, you might choose a definition of “Confidential Information” that does or does not require marking and written confirmation. You might choose a return-and-destruction component that does or doesn’t require certification of destruction after the agreement ends.

I think these kinds of lists could be an especially amenable to online collaboration, since they’re both conceptually straightforward and easy to type. Fundamentally, they’re just text files with a title at the top and a list of components after. The only tricky part would be making sure that lines in the lists correspond to labels in the database of drafted sections, if the two are going to work together.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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