Contract Authoring: Who Should Have Creation Permission?

Contract Authoring: Who Should Have Creation Permission?

19th June 2020

Contract Authoring: Who Should Have Creation Permission?

By Manpreet Dhillon at ContractPodAi 

Perhaps it's just me. But I view the person - most suited to authoring a contract - as having a lot in common with the chef you’d most want to create your favorite meal. Admittedly, though, I’ve been binge-watching a lot of cooking shows lately. So, that might be influencing this perspective.

A contract author is someone who understands the scope of the products and services that must be delivered - and the inherent risks involved in doing so. As such, there are definitely parallels between contract authors and chefs who know just how much of each ingredient needs to be blended into a recipe. They also need to know what temperature to cook or bake their culinary delight at, and how long to keep it on the stove or in the oven.

Feeling hungry yet? Well, the following is merely food for thought about contract creation. Here are three ingredients, which - when perfectly blended and expertly “baked” - make for an ideal contract creator.

 

1. Big-Picture Visionary

You may have expected “detail-oriented” to be at the top of the list of characteristics for the ideal contract author. We’ll save that characteristic for later. In the area of contract lifecycle management, you want someone who can see the forest and understand the trees. After all, you’d want a master chef to be able to plan and deliver a multi-course meal that delights your guests from the appetizer to the dessert. In the realm of managing contracts, you want someone who is:

A contract author should have an understanding of their CMS and their company's terms and conditions.

  • Effective at writing, and who can describe terms and conditions that satisfy attorneys while resonating with executives outside of corporate legal
  • Gracious in receiving constructive feedback or revision requests. (A contract that is signed after the first draft is a thing of beauty. For all of the rest, there's a need for version control.)
  • Able to have a broad, high-level understanding of the deliverables - just enough to know what keywords to use in a clause library. (This will pay off when assembling terms for a fresh new contract or determining if the terms of a contract template are suitable.)

Essentially, contract authors can be called upon to create all sorts of agreements  - and of varying complexity. A true visionary will be able to paint a picture, with words, for the other party - something someone at the “micro-detail level” cannot do. And if they're resourceful, they'll use a real-time contract analytics application to find similar contracts that they can borrow from or tailor templates to a specific purpose.
 

2. Detail-Oriented

Now, here's the characteristic that you’ve been expecting. A highly experienced chef knows the correct amounts of ingredients needed to create a gourmet meal - and how to expertly plate it. They know their tools, from their knives to their ovens and stovetops. What's more, they understand the sorts of flavors that diners will appreciate and servers will be proud to deliver.

In the same way, a savvy contract author should have a good understanding of their contract management software. They should also know how to assemble their company’s terms and conditions - in a way that resonates with their colleagues and the other party to the contract.

Some of the factors that accelerate contract review cycles include:

  • Clarity around what each party is investing and what they should expect in return
  • Remedies if contract terms are met, such as financial penalties or termination
  • Easily-understood terms, like pricing, period of performance, and other quantitative and qualitative measures, like time or volume

The contract author must understand the scope of the products and services and the risks involved.

Just as good fences make good neighbors, great contracts make for great business relationships. Yes, a contract management application is most effective. But as you're building a rich contract repository of reusable contract documents, terms, and clauses, it also helps to have the right person for the job.
 

3.   Trustworthy and Confidence-Inspiring

As the old saying goes, prospects and customers want to do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Your salespeople may be knowledgeable and charismatic, and your leadership team may be experts in your domain.

Do your business agreements, including standard contracts or custom contracts, radiate with the same trustworthiness and confidence that exist in the real world? If not, you may need to assign the responsibilities of contract creation to someone whose writing aligns with your brand messaging.

If a contract is written with ambiguous terms or poor sentence structure, it simply won’t inspire trust.

To lay the foundation of a mutually beneficial contract, make sure whoever is authoring your contracts can work with your contract management system (CMS) and:

  • Pass through contract approval workflows quickly with consistency and accuracy
  • Be receptive and nimble when the other party requests an additional word or minor term change
  • Understand what it takes to get a contract approved in your organization, and from the people and companies with which you do business

Not every accomplished chef started their career in the kitchen. Similarly, your ideal contract author may not have navigated the legal, finance, or procurement professions. They may have been in sales, marketing, or service delivery but are adept at written business communications that are convincing and credible.

So, pay that particular individual well, ensure that they are fully engaged in their role, and equip them with a powerful CMS to augment their valuable skill set. Want to know more about how a CMS can help with your contract authoring? Contact us, we would love to discuss contract authoring and how to help you make it more efficient.

 

AUTHOR:

Manpreet Dhillon

Manpreet Dhillon
Head of Legal Transformation
Connect with us on LinkedIn 

 

ContractPodAi empowers your team to assemble, send, sign and approve all kinds of contracts – from NDAs to sales contracts – anywhere, anytime and using any device.

Automated contact & document assembly

Highly configurable approval workflows

Central collaboration & negotiation

Sign using DocuSign eSignatures

Want to find out more? Schedule a demo today