Some substantive issues are also of a legal nature, for example managing contractual risk. The form and content of standard terms and conditions of business have always been a staple element of commercial legal services. Increasingly a lawyer’s most significant contribution lies in enhancing the number of occasions on which such terms are successfully incorporated.
Commercial sales forces, driven by targets and deadlines, often fail to draw up appropriate contracts, with little support from back-office systems. The problem is often compounded by verbal promises about what a product will do and how it will do it. Training which increases the comprehension of risk can pay rapid dividends. Reducing exposure to contractual claims for damages will have a direct impact on the bottom line. But this type of training can rarely be bought ‘off the peg’. It will only work effectively if it is adapted to suit the business’ individual needs and culture. Both the content of the training and its means of delivery must reflect the commercial environment in which those being trained are working.
Finally, lawyers must chart the history of retention and transfer of liabilities through mergers, acquisitions and divestments, together with any warranties, indemnities and insurance policies that relate to them.
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