Plenty of people have preconceived notions of lawyers and routinely use words like: “slow,” “risk averse,” “analysis paralysis” and “stuck in legal.” This is all wrong! My kind of lawyers and contracts negotiators have a need for speed, not settling for what merely has always been done, but helping their business teams focus on the problems to be solved and deals to be won.

Early in my in-house career, I made it a personal mission to improve the reputation of the contracts team within my organization. Why? Without a good reputation, the team would be unable to influence and collaborate successfully. Unsurprisingly, I found the lack of transparency in the contract process was enabling some in the business to claim contracts were “stuck in legal,” which contributed to branding the contracts team with a certain reputation. The more I learned about the contracts process, the more it became clear that contracts weren’t actually “stuck in legal”; the reality was that the cross-functional process of closing a deal was broken. I needed to find a way to bring sunlight to the contracts process, to improve the team’s morale and reputation, and also to strengthen the cross-functional team and program as a whole to achieve our business goals with speed.