The first solution described by Lazarus is a product from David Hirsh, made available through his new company, Transparency Labs. Hirsch is a
entrepreneur who came up with the business idea of the National Fine Print Repository (NFPR) which Lazarus calls “a sort of CliffsNotes for contracts.” Hirsch’s employees read and summarize contracts and write explanations so clearly that they can be understood by the average person with a ninth-grade reading level education. NFPR currently has approximately 2 ,000 contracts from banks, credit card issuers, cellphone companies and retirement accounts and will soon expand to include contracts with mortgage lenders, insurance providers, travel companies and software makers. The company is expected to go live in early 2012. Malibu, CA
Another solution is the joint effort of the AFL-CIO and the
, called NLC Invested, providing "working families … the financial basics for key moments in their lives, such as the arrival of a new baby or dealing with a foreclosed home." National Labor College
Both companies are focused on providing plain English, simple and straight-forward explanations for the confusing, small print, legalese gibberish that passes today as legal disclaimers which nobody either reads or understands.
The interesting question is, “Are these tool more valuable to consumers or to corporations who are paying expensive lawyers today to conjure up this gibberish?” Clearly, the NFPR is a valuable resource to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. What if the NFPR became a resource for lawyers, finally teaching them how to write plain, simple and straight-forward English explanations of legal concepts? Talk about value!