• Enterprise Risk Management
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  • Higher Ed
  • K-12

Checklist: Drafting Effective Releases

Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
June 2021

Why Read This

A release is a multipurpose risk management tool that can educate signors about the potential risks of an activity while benefiting sponsoring educational institutions as well. A signor who is injured during an activity that is covered by a release may be less likely to bring a claim. Releases can also act as leverage for negotiating the settlement of a claim, or to persuade a court to dismiss a negligence lawsuit.

This checklist contains guidelines for revising or drafting effective releases and can highlight areas where modifications may be necessary. Tips include:

  • The release should describe a voluntary activity and be narrowly tailored and specific to the activity it covers.
  • The potential signors of the release should be identified.
  • None of the potential signors should be a minor.
  • All of the potential signors should understand English.
  • The institution’s legal counsel should write or review the release.
  • The name of the institution and the party signing the release must be accurate.
  • The activities constituting the subject of the release should be described with sufficient detail.
  • The activity’s start and end dates must be correct.

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