Category: Legal writing

How to Misdraft an Easement Agreement: Error Six

Last year I wrote a book on how to draft easement agreements, giving practical advice to lawyers. I had the most fun with the next-to-last chapter, which I called “Ten Ways to Misdraft Your Easement Agreement,” where I described ten ways for drafters to mess up their agreements. The sixth error I wrote about is to not set standards for roads and utilities. If you are granting an easement to allow your neighbor to build a driveway and connect utilities through your property, describe how much driveway you’re allowing. Even if the easement area will be 30 feet wide, you may not expect your neighbor to build a driveway that looks like a public street, with curbs and a sidewalk. You can and should say something like “Within the Easement Area, Grantee may construct a paved driveway up to X feet wide” so that you’re allowing a driveway, not a highway.

Erica Menze and Dean Alterman co-present a seminar for the American Bar Association

Last month our partners Erica Menze and Dean Alterman joined Patrick Bartman of Baird Holm LLP to present a 90-minute seminar on negotiating and drafting leases and easements for the Real Property, Trusts & Estates (RPTE) section of the American Bar Association. The seminar is one in a series, “Lay of the Land,” that RPTE is presenting this year to provide practical technical advice to newer real estate lawyers.

Even standard forms need a once-over from time to time

Clients save money when their lawyers base new agreements on old forms, but some forms are a little too old.  I haven’t seen a lease form that allows the parties to send each other notices by Pony Express, but last year two law firms sent me lease drafts that allow the landlord and the tenant to send notices by telegraph.