Re-engineering Commercial Contracts

Posted on May 4, 2016

In April, Radiant Law hosted a workshop for a group of General Counsel, legal Chief Operating Officers and Heads of Procurement from large companies, looking at ‘re-engineering commercial contracts’.

April 2016 Workshop: Re-engineering Commercial Contracts from Radiant Law on Vimeo.

We’re hearing more and more that in-house legal teams are under pressure to create and deliver additional value for the business. The workshop began with a presentation from Radiant Law CEO, Alex Hamilton, who framed the challenges and began to outline some of the ways in which a re-engineering of the process can offer real business value.

Reinforcing the theory that “there’s no silver bullet”, Alex recommended focusing every day on one fix, somewhere, to make incremental improvements, and gave a number of examples of ways in which external suppliers, technology and process can contribute. In closing, Alex encouraged people to “try a few ideas, be agile, experiment now as the pressure is not going to go away to deliver more for less.”

Martin Clausen, Managing Director of Syngrato and former General Counsel of Maersk Line introduced the hidden cost of ‘just existing’, with a presentation that looked in more detail at how better processes and technology can be used to boost the impact, reach and value creation of large internal legal departments.

Martin looked at the importance of process improvement and the use of relevant technology that can help you to create efficiencies, with the advice “don’t be the last department head who’s not able to show up with hard data backing up your assertions as to how the business is running or how it needs to evolve.” Echoing Alex’s closing remarks, Martin encouraged the audience to start considering the areas that can be fixed today, saying “standing still is not an option.”

The interactive workshop sessions that followed focused on four key areas:

    • Lean processes: how can focus and simplicity be so hard? facilitated by John Michaelis, Company Director, WIT Group;
    • Collaborative procurement: balancing cost and value, facilitated by Cameron Smith, Global Sourcing Manager, BAT;
    • Metrics: measuring what counts, facilitated by Jason McQuillen, Head of Managed Legal Services, Radiant Law;
    • Delivering business value: is cost and risk control enough, facilitated by Robin Saphra, former Global General Counsel, Colt Group.

This session allowed delegates to discuss their own real-world experiences of how to fix the commercial contracting process, and what’s holding them back, with their peers. The results of each discussion were summarised for the whole group by the facilitators at the end of the afternoon. What came across clearly is that, whilst there are many challenges.

The final session of the day saw presentations on three technology solutions that can help to speed-up and make dramatic efficiencies in the contracting process. Will Sumners from Contract Express and Jacqueline de Gernier from DocuSign gave a joint demonstration of how their solutions work in tandem to automate the drafting of legal documents and complete approvals and agreements in hours. Jason McQuillen then demonstrated Flow, Radiant Law’s workflow tool that allows users to track the status of matters under managed legal services, and chart key metrics. Private demonstrations of all these technologies are available on request.

Building on the ideas discussed through the workshop, we’ve gathered a list of ten things to consider, in order to begin shaping a process that is expressly designed and controlled to meet the needs of your business. To discuss how Radiant Law can help you be a leader of change and deliver more value to your business through the commercial contracts process, complete the form below or email us today.