Day Two started off with a panel discussion featuring lawyer Robert De Rooy, Professors Adrian Keating and Camilla Andersen and illustrator Loui Silvestro! It was interesting hearing from Professor Adrian Keating, a specialist in Mechanical Engineering, how he had requested the drafting of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Throughout the drafting process Professor Keating simply wondered why it had to be so complex and wordy - couldn't it simply convey the simple message: 'don't talk about this project until it's done?'
That prompted the panel to discuss why so much of contracts are designed to cover events that will most like never eventuate. While on the one hand lawyers tend to be safe and take a cautious approach, clients themselves are cautious and worried of taking on risk. As Robert De Rooy aptly mentioned, another hurdle of contract innovation is convincing the clients themselves that not every risk needs to be included in the contract.
Another interesting discussion arose when the panel considered the commercial realities surrounding visual contracts. The panel discussed the possibility of creating and curating a bank of images that clients and lawyers can both access and use. While such a venture would accelerate the reality of visual contracting by promoting consistency it would also introduce other difficulties.
Which image best depicts a happy, sad or angry person consistently across cultures?
What image best depicts an agreement or a penalty consistently across cultures?
This question and many more were considered in the workshops that followed.
Three workshops were held back to back dealing with three issues:
The workshops touched on issues that were raised and discussed previously: cultural and psychological issues regarding how some images were perceived. Additionally, the workshop chaired by WAIS Co-Ceo Su-Hsien Lee raised interesting discussion on the specialised nature of contracting between special-needs individuals and the employees that are hired to assist them. Considerations arose in the image and colours used to represent each party, as well as the descriptive nature of the text used to list the employment details of either party.
On the left are some of the images shown during the workshop. The first image shows two groups representations of what best encapsulates the University of Western Australia. While the first group connected best with the University's famous roaming Peacocks, the second group identified moreso with the iconic Winthrop Hall. See the issues with creating avatars?
The second image is one that is used by special-needs individuals to hire employees for assistance. Note how the contract is tailored to empower both the employer and employee; allowing the employer and employee to state what exactly is being asked from each other.
After lunch, lawyer and coach J. Kim Wright took to the stand once more to guide conference goers through the concept of conscious contracting. As explained by Wright, the idea behind conscious contracting is to align the legal documents prepared by businesses with the values they hold. In having long-winded contracts, covering every (sometimes impossible!) situation, trust and clarity goes missing.
J. Kim Wright organised the conference goers into small groups and gave them sheets of homework to complete where they listed their skills and values. Afterwards each group came together and played a board game, specially designed for this workshop where they discussed each others values and created a small 'gift' for the other groups. What resulted was AMAZING! Each group had in-depth discussions about their values and goals and realised that although most of them had never met, had come from different industries and life paths, they all had a lot of similar values. Wright explained it is these common values that bring organisations together and those same values which must be seen throughout a contract.
On the right is the board game that one group played on and the gift they had for other conference groups: the gift that conscious contracting will lead to happier parties!
The next workshop was held by trainer, coach and Mind Mapping extraordinaire Jennifer Goddard. Jennifer Goddard explained the concept of Mind Mapping; a powerful tool that helps visualise and organise our thoughts. Flowing from one central idea, a Mind Map allows an individual to hone in on specific ideas. Jennifer Goddard explained that Mind Mapping works because it is a visual representation of how our brains actually process and store information. Conference goers were taught how to mind map; using only a simple idea central to expand into more than a hundred ideas!
As Goddard explained, Mind Maps are nothing new, they are used by individuals from all stages in life; from students wanting to complete assignments early to legal professionals preparing documents. Mind Mapping is useful for really tapping into a concept, regardless of what it is for.
Click here for more information on Mind Maps and a whole host of free resources to get started today!
The final workshop was held by University of Western Australia Director of Student Experience, Andrew O'Brien. Andrew O'Brien delivered a talk explaining how visual images can create real results. In his talk, Andrew O'Brien talked about the use of images specifically in workplace departments and how these images can either promote or inhibit workplace growth. Essentially, positive visual representations promote positive workplace relations and negative representations inhibit positive relations.
The conference concluded with a talk by the former Chief Justice of the Australian High Court and the current Chancellor of the University of Western Australia; the Honourable Robert French AC. His Honour delivered an insightful talk on the complexities of contracting but touched on the issue that was on everyone's mind: how do you think visual contracts will be approached by the courts in Australia?
To everyone's delight, the Honourable Robert French stated that, just like every other contract, if the Courts can interpret and give meaning to visual contracts, then they should be able to be approached like any other contract! You can just imagine what a wonderful end to the day and conference that was for everyone!
Comic Book Contracts Closing Speech delivered by the Honourable Robert French