There are advantages to utilizing a Contracts Manager (CM). However, there are also situations when the best advice is to call a lawyer. Below are examples of both:
Advantages to Using a Contracts Manager (CM):
- CMs can save your company money! They can negotiate subcontracts and teaming agreements (TAs) in a more cost-effective manner than an Attorney because of the difference in hourly rates.
- Experienced CMs know what terms and conditions should be included and excluded; and how to leverage power (e,g, customer relationships, intel, etc.).
- When negotiating a Teaming Agreement or Subcontract, savvy CMs understand the balance of protecting the Company while also focusing on building a healthy, working relationship to reach amicable solutions. If all goes well, your Company and Teaming Partner may win the award and be working together for years– and possibly on future opportunities. Getting off on the right foot is critical to a good partnership.
- Shrewd CMs are concerned about the bottom line—and work closely with Accounting Departments, Controllers, and CFOs. They understand that it is not only about the contract, but about the financial impact as well.
- CMs may be more familiar with what contractual reporting needs to be done per the FAR and DFAR clauses. Not abiding by the reporting requirements can hurt the company’s CPARS rating.
When to Contact an Attorney:
- Setting up a business, organization, joint venture, or any legal entity.
- Drafting a legal agreement between two or more owners.
- Establishing an Executive Leadership Board or Council.
- Providing legal advice or preparing an offer for a Merger and Acquisition (M&A).
It is vital that companies have both a knowledgeable Contracts Manager and an Attorney. That being said, it is important to know when a Contracts Manager can complete the task just as well (in some cases better), and when you truly need to consult an Attorney. Knowing the advantages of a CM and also when you need legal advice can provide a more favorable outcome.