Lawyer and Contract Manager: Compare and Contrast

I was recently reminded of this article on the role of contract managers, as well as this follow-up article prompted by the recession. Both were written by Tim Cummins of the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM).

These articles caught my eye because my public seminars and my in-house seminars at companies are attended by both lawyers and contract managers. Given that my background is that of a lawyer in private practice, I have only indirect knowledge of the role of in-house lawyers in the contract process. And I know even less about what a contract manager does—much of what is in IACCM newsletters is outside my bailiwick.

I get the sense that when it comes to drafting and negotiating contracts, at many companies lawyers create the contract language and give contract managers little discretion to tinker with it. That’s why I encourage companies to send not only contract managers to my seminars but also at least a lawyer or two—it must be a bit frustrating for contract managers to learn of the shortcomings in mainstream contract language yet not be able to effect real change.

But many contract managers have law degrees, which muddies the distinction between the two functions.

At any rate, I know my readers come from both camps. I’d welcome any comments regarding the respective roles of lawyers and contract managers, bearing in mind that my principal interest is contract language and the process by which contracts are created.

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.