The word "workmanlike" and phrase "workmanlike manner" appear frequently in contract terms, but are obviously gendered. For example:

The services will be performed in a professional and workmanlike manner.

Is there a gender-neutral term that is a suitable substitute?

To clarify, by "suitable", I'm looking for indication that a proposed substitute would be understood to carry the same meaning in the context of a contract. Synonym-search does not answer that.

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    competent, skillful, efficient – Jim Feb 8 at 19:18
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    "define workmanlike" in Google returns plenty of synonyms. – Rusty Core Feb 8 at 19:43
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    In a legal setting, the meaning of words is informed by precedent. Use anything else at your clients' peril. – remarkl Feb 8 at 20:33
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    "Professional and workmanlike" looks like a legal doublet there, which means you should be able to just use "professional" on its own without changing the meaning. – 1006a Feb 9 at 0:43
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    Words like workmanship and craftsmanship are no more “gendered” terms than are mankind and humanity. – tchrist Feb 10 at 5:55

As remarkl says, in legal contexts the meaning of words has been defined by precedent. Find out how that word has been defined in the jurisdiction in question, and then use that definition instead of the adjective, e.g. as work of this nature is customarily done by other skilled contractors in the community.

  • In the absence of a word with similar established precedent, this is probably the best answer I'm going to get. I'll wait a while in case other answers emerge, but if not I'll probably accept this. – R.. Feb 8 at 22:35
  • I would prefer the job done right, not how it is usually being done, which may be slipshod and not by the code. I've seen many results of supposedly licensed contractors' work done wrong. – Rusty Core Feb 9 at 1:03

In practice, if you ever need to sue for relief because the party did not live up to this provision of the contract, you are going to spend a lot of time (and therefore money) arguing over what exactly the standard means. The term workmanlike manner has a lot of case law giving it definition (see also here), so even though it is sexist (and also vague), you have a much better idea of what you are getting into by using it that by using something else.1

Black's law dictionary suggests, indirectly through its definition of spondeo, that you could use skillful instead of workmanlike, but you always take some risk when you do not use the standard term in a legal setting. That is why lawyers still use Latin phrases.

Other sources suggest you add diligent and careful as well:

The services will be performed in a careful, diligent, professional, and skillful manner.

1. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice

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