With great success comes great responsibility and for many businesses expansion and growth results in hundreds, if not thousands, of critical documents, including contracts. Unfortunately, as the number of contracts rises, so does the risk something will fall through the cracks. Companies may miss important deadlines, sustain outdated agreements, or accidentally enter into conflicting obligations or inadvertently breach a contract. Mismanaged contracts can also be costly. According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, poor contract management costs companies an average of 9 percent of their annual revenue.
With so much at stake, it makes sense that contract management has primarily been the domain of legal professionals, but this reliance on in-house counsel the may not be the best use of your organization’s resources. One solution involves delegating contract management activities to qualified non-lawyer professionals.
While other members of your legal team can handle many of the tasks necessary for competent contract management, oversight and organization are critical. By tapping into the power of software solutions, including contract management software, you can automate tasks, improve document tracking, and help your support staff be more productive and efficient. Ultimately, by creating a cohesive, adaptable, and agile document management system that pairs the right players with the right tools, your organization can avoid the pitfalls and expensive mistakes that can happen when critical paperwork is mismanaged
While it might seem like a foreign concept at first, offloading legal work and tasks to the “non-lawyer” members of your team can be hugely beneficial. In fact, as today’s business landscape changes, many legal departments look very different from the “typical” law firm. Your legal department can include team members of varying roles and levels of competency. In addition to lawyers, your company’s legal department might consist of paralegals, legal assistants, contract managers, and negotiators.
Of course, you won’t be able to assign just any kind of responsibility to your non-lawyer employees. In the U.S., for example, there are prohibitions against the unauthorized practice of law by people who have not passed the bar exam. Nevertheless, there are a surprising number of contract management tasks you can still delegate to non-lawyers within your legal department—and a variety of benefits associated with doing so, as well.
By delegating specific contract tasks to other professionals (or dedicated contract management software), lawyers can devote their efforts to more worthwhile activities for the firm. Instead of wasting time dealing with “fires” that don’t require extensive knowledge of the law to put out, your lawyers can spend more hours on high-value work.
Better Work/Life Balance
Many lawyers have a notoriously terrible work/life balance. In a recent survey, nearly half of attorneys said that they would readily sacrifice part of their salary to have more free time. Delegating time-intensive activities to non-lawyer personnel, and even automating repetitive tasks, can help shoulder the load for in-house counsel, making your organization a more attractive place to work.
More Accurate Processes
Putting more eyes on a contract makes it easier to catch mistakes and speed up the approval process. This decreases your time to revenue and helps you find potential issues before they surface during the contract’s execution or renegotiation.
If you assign your contract management responsibilities to the right people, you’ll become more efficient and productive, improving your company’s reputation as a reliable contract partner. This will result in additional business (which you’ll be able to handle, thanks to being more efficient) and higher revenues.
For more information on the benefits of delegating tasks to the non-lawyers on your team and tips for successfully accomplishing the re-allocation of duties download this complimentary resource, A Guide to Delegating Legal Contract Responsibility, from ContractWorks.