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No. The law is not a virtual machine and legal documents are not programming.

Believing so is a common misconception amongst engineers, but depending on it as such is likely to lead to disappointment, frustration, anger, needless bickering, extended conflict, and vexatiously long, hard to read, and mostly unenforceable contracts.




> No. The law is not a virtual machine and legal documents are not programming.

This is true, but I'd think the opposite point is more important.

Much of the grunge work I see the lawyers around me do really is about parsing out and semantically evaluating some clear-cut-but-complicated bit of text. As a result lawyers genuinely value producing (and succeed at) producing logically coherent, unambiguous text.

By contrast, most programmers are as sloppy as their compiler will allow them to be. This is bad enough in code, but it is much worse when we talk to each-other in English. Not only documentation, but internal design discussions etc, are usually some combination vague, meaningless and wrong.




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