I’m going to be giving a presentation to a large group of in-house counsel and thought that I would conclude with some thoughts on the important role that they can play in advancing the business goals and objectives of their firm by effectively administering the contract review and approval process. I believe that it is useful to the general counsel or other senior manager in the legal department to view his or her role as that of a Chief Contractual Relations Officer assigned to do the following:
- Understand and manage the company’s network of contractual relationships;
- Establish and administer the company’s procedures for review and approval of contractual relationships;
- Establish and administer the company’s procedures for execution of contracts;
- Establish and administer the company’s procedures for retention of records relating to its contractual relationships;
- Design and implement formal programs for educating managers and employees about reviewing and negotiating the terms of contractual relationships;
- Develop procedures for continuously informing members of the senior management team about the alignment between the company’s strategic business plan and its network of contractual relationships;
- Create and continuously update tools and procedures for making the contracting process more efficient and comfortable for internal clients;
- Establish strong relationships with departments and business units to ensure that information regarding contract matters flows to and from the legal department;
- Establish your credentials among other members of the management team—particularly the CEO, CFO and Senior Vice President of Sales—as to your knowledge of the business activities of the company;
- Build reasonable expectations within the company regarding the time required to review proposed contracts and then meet or exceed those expectations without fail; and
- Continuously strive to maintain an understanding of the larger environment within which your company operate and establish and maintain open communications with key players throughout the company.
The content in this post has been adapted from material that will appear in Business Transactions Solutions (Fall 2008) and is presented with permission of Thomson/West. Copyright 2008 Thomson/West. For more information or to order call 1-800-762-5272.