“Contracting Center of Excellence”?

I was tempted to do an in-depth post about this EY survey, entitled The General Counsel Imperative: How Does Contracting Complexity Hide Clear Profitability? But the more I looked at it, the less I had to say about it.

But this random tidbit grabbed my attention:

Establish a contracting center of excellence (CoE). A dedicated team set up in a lower-cost jurisdiction, enabled with the right technology and processes, can handle the contract workload more efficiently than siloed contracting teams.

A few years ago at a conference, I heard someone describe their company’s “contracting center of excellence.” My immediate reaction was one of disbelief: who would come up with such a preposterous name? Now I learn that it’s apparently a broader phenomenon. And a source tells me that the center of excellence phenomenon has been around a long while in corporate-speak.

Sure, offshoring high-volume, lower-value work might have its attractions. But lopping the clunky and pompous of excellence from the moniker “contracting center of excellence” would be a big improvement—anything described as being of excellence is in fact almost certain to not be excellent. But in another respect, the current name is perfect—it captures the air of unreality that can accompany attempts to fix the contracting process.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.