As if the other side to a contract were not difficult enough, you may butt heads with your own sales force

During a recent consulting project, I interviewed a lawyer who spends much of his time on sales agreements. “Sometimes I spend more time tussling with my sales force over terms than I do with the other side,” he said. This complaint goes back to a point made previously – business decisions must precede legal drafting (See my post of Nov. 17, 2010: can’t improve contracts unless business side agrees to positions.).

Sales people look less far down the road and barely at risks as do lawyers. So the lawyer has to rein in the inclination of the sales person to give away the farm or toss a slow-burning match into the farm. At the same time, the in-house lawyer, locking the barn doors and dousing the flame, doesn’t make friends with the commission-hungry sales person. To hit the right balance, and to pile on one more metaphor, means it is hard for the lawyer to get the porridge to just the right temperature.

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