Responding to in-house lawyers’ renewed focus on contracts as a result of rapidly changing laws, use of new technology, business’ expanding global scope and increased demands for swift negotiations, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global bar association representing more than 30,000 in-house counsel, today launched the ACC Contracts Portal , a multimedia resource designed to help with contract drafting, negotiations, benchmarking and management.
The Portal features a comprehensive database of ACC member-contributed sample forms and policies and other contract management resources to help in-house lawyers with benchmarking, negotiations and agreement review processes. The Portal also includes a benchmarking tool that generates reports, which compare contract drafts to similar agreements and flag divergent and missing contractual clauses. The Negotiations section of the Portal is sponsored by Arent Fox LLP and includes advice on responding to efforts to derail negotiations and a checklist on the attributes of a successful negotiator, among other resources.
“In-house lawyers spend countless hours drafting, scrutinizing and negotiating contracts to ensure that their companies’ interests are well represented,” said Veta T. Richardson , president and CEO of ACC. “Contracts-focused sessions are always the most popular at the ACC Annual Meeting. As a result, the Portal addresses a pressing need within the in-house community.”
Attesting to the importance of contracts work for the in-house community, the ACC 2013 Chief Legal Officers (CLO) Survey reported that companies were most likely to create new in-house positions in the area of contracts, rather than other legal specialties, including “generalist,” during 2012. Furthermore, 81 percent of survey respondents indicated that they draft contracts internally, rather than hiring outside law firms. For multinational companies and others doing business in many nations, contracts processes are often fraught with additional difficulties, such as choice of law issues.
“We look forward to working with ACC and sharing our knowledge in this area,” said Arent Fox communications and corporate partner Alan G. Fishel , who is the lead presenter for much of the material housed on the ACC Contracts Portal. “The approaches outlined in the ACC Contracts Portal have worked extremely well for attorneys across industries during their negotiations.”
ACC will also host three days of sessions on contracts and negotiations at the 2013 ACC Annual Meeting. Topics include common contracts errors when time is of the essence, the life cycle of a contract, consumer warranties for multiple jurisdictions, the successful joint venture and negotiating sponsorships.