It can feel like the wild west when companies have a high turnover, fast pace, or general lack of process. For start-ups and scale-ups, this is common. In these situations, legal teams may be asked to act as the ‘Sheriff’.
This puts in-house counsel in the position of checking other people’s work and ensuring all cross-department approvals have been received before contracts can be drafted. In higher risk cases, legal should certainly be double-checking; but generally, it’s not a great use of in-house lawyers’ time, because these matters are easily delegated to business teams. This is particularly true on deals that are low-risk overall.
- Work with senior leaders to ensure all teams are aligned on approval processes (best practice is for each department to pre-approve a ‘menu’ of terms, so that approvals are only necessary when picking off-menu);
- Specify that no terms should be sent to legal unless approved through the process (this lets you ‘deem’ approval has occurred);
- Create workflow or use workflow software to ensure that requests and documents are properly shepherded through the approval process. This also provides a trail of who provided the approval and when; and.
- Continue to double check approvals for higher-risk items only.
Each Inter Alia lawyer has worked both in-house and in private practice. We love solving problems for our clients, and this blog gives some insight into how we do this practically and efficiently. If these tips speak to you, or you think we could help you, please contact email@example.com.