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How to improve contract drafting legal services

The responsibility for producing faster, better and more economical legal work falls on lawyers, as well as clients.

Consider the client side of costs for contract drafting.

Fees will be higher if key business, commercial or technical considerations (collectively "management needs") are not dealt with before going to a contract drafting lawyer for "legal services".

It has to cost more to have the lawyer provide legal services as well as deal with or resolve management needs.

Providers of management services

Lawyers are best at law and legal services. If you seek lower lawyer fees, work out your management needs for yourself or inhouse. If you can't, here are some options of people to engage to provide management services:
  • Call a mate who knows
  • Attend business and management training courses
  • Find a business coach or mentor (call us we know many)
  • Outsource to a management consultant (call us we know many)
  • Hire staff who have experience in areas of management where you have gaps.

Business contract drafting scenario


If these human resources options do not suit, then find a contract drafting lawyer capable of dealing with management needs, and be prepared to pay. After all you are asking the lawyer to put on his or her legal services wig, as well as a business manager's hat for the management needs. In that scenario it is reasonable to expect you'll pay for more than just contract drafting legal services.

Whichever option you select, here's an overview of the instructions required for a range of contract-based transactions. These include distribution agreements, buy-sell agreements, intellectual property licensing and IP commercialisation agreements.

Contract drafting instructions in 7 steps

The scenario involves seven steps. Below are the instructions generally required for a business or contract drafting lawyer to draft a professional-level business contract involving dealing with management needs as well as legal services.

  1. Define the outcomes achieved by the anticipated transaction for all stakeholders.
  2. Identify the assets and offerings. The offerings may be a product, system, technology, franchise or a specific item of intellectual property. List any intellectual property (consider categories such as copyright, trade mark, confidential information) claimed in specific elements of the assets and offerings.
  3. Define in a sketch or bullet points each step in the workflow or business process for delivery of the offering to the end customers.
  4. Write or draw a picture that structures items 1, 2 and 3 as a system in clear architectural terms. Putting it another way, whatever an offering may be, people and some stakeholders need to be able to understand each component of them as a system - how it is delivered, is charged for, and leads to revenues or other outcomes for each stakeholder.
  5. Work out charges or remuneration that are built around those steps. Who pays who, and for what, how and when?
  6. contract-drafting-wig-backSpecifically set out the obligations of each party as they fit into and work with the above. Ahh! Now you are entering into the legal back office. Welcome! The obligations need to be thoroughly written out, so deal with end to end requirements before you enter into the back office.
  7. Now work with some guidance with a lawyer to consider what types of contracts and clauses might be used the fashion prior work into an acceptable business model which also defineds the nature of the legal relationship between the stakeholders. That's what a contract does!

 Note it took 5 non-legal steps to approach legal steps in 6 and 7. If you do steps 1 to 5 on your account that saves 5/7ths of your so-called legal bill. Doing a proper job with the management needs in steps 1 to 5 also means you are likely to improve results from purely legal services delivered in steps 6 and 7.

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