By Milene Amoriello Spolador, Tax and business lawyer | Legal Designer |Design thinker (Brazil)
Last month I had the last class of a Design Sprint course I did here in Curitiba - and I have to say that it was a day when I heard truths.
In the last hours of the course our teacher asked us to suggest a theme so she could show us some facilitation techniques. I was the only lawyer in the class, so I put the subject contracts on the table and to my surprise it was accepted. So the following question was written in yellow letters on the board:
How to improve the experience with contracts?
And was at this time, dear reader, that the truth came forth as clear as the sun.
The group was made up of people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds: designers, entrepreneurs, developers, directors of technology companies, photographers, people planning, post-sales, service, ie people involved with contracts of the most diverse forms, but all with very similar pains in relation to the subject.
It was easy to see how the need to sign contracts was a bad experience, thinking of contracts brought feelings of insecurity, lack of understanding, complicated language and long texts - perfect recipe for feelings like frustration and anxiety.
And why is it so?
"Left: understand legal terms, understanding, complexity, fear of long contracts. Right: no time to read; business: - bureaucracy; no time to read and understand; fear of the contract"
"It's hard to understand", "it's too long", "lack of time", "bureaucracy", "complexity" were practically unanimous pains, everyone has difficulty reading contracts due to excessive pages and technical terms and they bother with the constant coming and going until the final signature.
Now imagine the following situation: you are in a restaurant in a country where you do not speak the local language, pick up the menu and simply do not understand what is written there and have no one to explain that to you, but you are hungry and in a hurry, then you ask for what looks good, without being too sure. After a while the waiter brings you a beautiful plate of pod - it was not quite what you wanted, you do not even like it that much, but you have to eat, because you asked for it and agreed to buy it, you just did not know exactly what you were agreeing with.
Well, some have reported that sometimes they sign contracts without understanding exactly what it predicts, simply because they need to close the deal soon, and end up having to eat pods, when in fact what they had in mind was pasta.
And you know what? For the vast majority of people the cause of this difficulty is directly related to the lawyer.
“be in the hands of lawyers.”
It is a fact that people today increasingly want to have control of their decisions and understand the situations in which they are involved, and anything that prevents or hinders these goals brings discomfort.
The point is that consumers today do not conform themselves and simply accept situations where they do not feel well, they talk, report their pain, and mainly look for alternatives to replace what is not meeting their needs.
So if the contract is complex, if contractual negotiation is time consuming, if it causes stress, anxiety and even frustration, for how long do you think users will be quiet and will simply accept, conforming themselves by saying that things are as they are?
"Top: App: editor of components to set up agreements; Left: choose whether or not to do something in writing; Right: client controle, complain here"
"Tutorial for language choice; use explanatory video and “accept” button"
We must not forget that the presence of lawyers is not obligatory for the drafting of contracts, and if the association that is made is that the presence of this professional brings difficulty and complexity, the tendency is to find alternatives.
But does all this scenario contradict the lawyer's objective?
Think with me: in the preparation of a contract the presence of this professional should bring tranquility to all those involved who would be sure that they are signing something that meets their expectations and the assurance that the obligations assumed there will be fulfilled, but clearly this is not what is happening.
What security does the customer have if he can not even understand what is written in the contract?
How can the client stay calm when signing an agreement if he does not clearly understand what has been defined?
Contracts can not be made from lawyer to lawyer, contracts must be made to the people who are part of that agreement, so that these people achieve the goals that led them to do business - simple like that.
SIMPLIFY! Keep your eyes and ears focused on your client's needs, because if you do not, he will look for alternatives.
Connect with the author:
Milene Amoriello Spolador
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