Assistant Dean Cramer Publishes Textbook on Drafting Cross-Border Contracts

Peter K. Cramer, assistant dean of graduate programs, has published a new legal writing textbook, A Guide to Drafting International Contracts in Legal English, (Aspen Publishers, 2013). Co-authored with Cynthia M. Adams of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Law, the textbook is designed for international law students and practitioners.

Applicable for both classroom and self-study, the textbook adopts a concise approach that is purposely devoid of U.S. colloquialisms and legalese expressions. The book provides a database of 120 authentic contracts from which students can draw multiple examples of similar provisions for linguistic/legal comparison. "With its database and guided exercises, the book provides the kind of training a drafter may receive when starting a position at a law firm," Cramer says.

"Drafters can develop a critical analysis of provisions and avoid a 'cut-and-paste' approach often used by novice or non-native drafters," he adds. "Drafters can also develop a sense of the idiomatic use of contract phrases, such as 'commercially reasonable efforts' versus 'commercially sensible attempts,' the latter of which is often the result of an unsuccessful one-to-one dictionary translation."

Cramer, who studied law in Germany and the United States, is also a linguist and language teacher. He has presented widely on international business and legal topics. In his role as assistant dean at Washington University School of Law, he administers the law school’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs in Intellectual Property & Technology Law and in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers. He also recently developed the first online Legal English class at a leading U.S. law school, in conjunction with @WashULaw, the online LL.M. degree in U.S. Law offered by Washington University School of Law to foreign attorneys.

Prior to joining the law school, Cramer served as an adjunct professor and associate director of Georgetown University Law School’s Center for Global Legal English. He also was a faculty instructor at Indiana University, Bloomington’s Center for English Language Training.