All human beings, including even LLC lawyers and their LLC formation clients, are by nature aesthetic animals. They are hungry for beauty, and they look for beauty in whatever they behold. And if they find it, they are more receptive to its non-aesthetic contents than they might otherwise be.
In the case of LLC formation clients, “what they behold” includes operating agreements. So what can you do to make the operating agreements you draft for your clients more beautiful? Below are some tips. (I’ve sought to implement all of these tips in the operating agreements you can access by clicking on the “LLC Forms” button in the top navigation bar of this blog.)
1) Formality and dignity. Beauty is inherently formal and dignified. Think of a Bach fugue or a Cezanne landscape. So start your operating agreements with a title page that states the title of the agreement and its date. This title page will give a formality and dignity to the agreement that will support its aesthetic pleasingness.
2) Simplicity. Though its parts may be complex, beauty in its essence is simple. So use a clear and simple system for denoting the parts, sections, subsections and sub-subsections of your operating agreements. Thus, for example, don’t include in the agreement sub-subsections such as “220.127.116.11.” I see this method of numbering provisions in operating agreements all the time. It’s not only confusing and irritating. It’s complicated and it’s ugly.
3) Tranquility. Beauty is tranquil. So use a lot of white space in your agreements. White space rests the eyes of people studying the provisions of your agreements and enables them to read them tranquilly.
4) Order and unity. Beauty has an inner order and unity. So start each of your operating agreements (after the title page) with a summary of contents and a detailed table of contents, and use headings to clearly denote these parts of the agreement and each other part, including the body of the agreement and each of its exhibits. And clearly denote the various parts within the agreement’s body—e.g., its statement of the parties, its statement of background, its terms and conditions and its signature blocks. This will not only help readers navigate the agreement and find what they’re looking for in it; it will give them a sense of the agreement’s beauty.
5) Variety. Beauty is enhanced by variety. So use a beautiful font in the text of the provisions of your operating agreements—this this will generally mean Times New Roman—but vary font types in the agreements depending on whether the words in question in them constitute titles, tables of contents, section headings, or subsection headings.
6) Prose style. Use a beautiful prose style. This means writing your agreements in plain English (even the tax provisions to the extent possible) and avoiding ugly legalisms such as “whereas” and “hereinafter” and “recital.” In general, if you’re thinking about using a word in your agreement that only lawyers use, don’t use it.