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Under pressure: what are the barriers to improved contracting?

October 28, 2021

In the push for increased speed, adaptability and value, the contracting process is often a stand-out in resisting change. Indeed, the 2021 Benchmark Study from World Commerce and Contracting reveals that average cycle times for contract closure have actually increased over the last two years.

The role of lawyers

Many factors contribute to this apparent inertia. Some studies point the finger squarely at in-house legal teams and their resistance to change. Recent studies by EY are reinforced by thought-leaders such as Mark Cohen, Chair of the Digital Legal Exchange, who exhorts lawyers to truly become part of the business by embracing participation in multi-functional teams. Others highlight that the legal profession’s view of ‘innovation’ would, for others, represent minor incremental improvement.

Unearthing the truth

In a current study, World Commerce and Contracting digs into the question of whether barriers between legal teams and ‘the business’ are breaking down. Traditionally, it is true that many in-house groups tended to behave more like a captive law firm than ‘just another business function’ and there’s little question that where this arm’s-length behavior persists, it impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the contracting process. But with the advent of new technologies and the growth of Legal Operations, has that changed? 

A spotlight on both legal AND business practice

The survey will reveal the views and experiences of both lawyers and non-lawyers in how effectively they work together. Importantly, the results will highlight areas where there may be opportunities for improvement – on both sides. For all the criticisms of legal, there is also plenty of evidence to suggest that the business often engages the legal team too late and provides incomplete or inaccurate information. ‘Team play’ has to work in both directions.

So wherever you sit in the business, share your experiences by participating here. In return, you’ll receive an advance copy of the report and a personal invitation to a webinar where we will discuss the results. 

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