Failed Contract Relationships: Are the Lawyers to Blame?

Tim Cummins, CEO of The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management

Each year, IACCM conducts a study of the most frequently negotiated terms and conditions. And each year, the top places are dominated by the terms that allocate risk or imply a lack of trust – liabilities, indemnities, liquidated damages, confidentiality, IP rights. Business leaders and negotiators recognize that the negotiation agenda often acts to undermine business relationships and distracts attention from other, more constructive aspects of performance management. So this year, IACCM has for the first time established ‘the new top ten’- the terms that contracts and negotiation experts believe they should be discussing. When asked why the agenda has not changed, many executives blame the lawyers. But are they right? This article will discuss the changing world of contracts, their role in driving business outcomes and how corporate attitudes to contracting must change – often with the leadership and vision of in-house counsel.

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USA Contract General October 2009 Vol. 3, No. 9, Autumn 2009

Tim Cummins

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Tim Cummins is CEO of The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (www.iaccm.com). He spent many years as a commercial manager and negotiator, working in the automotive, aerospace and technology industries. His work has taken him to more than 40 countries and he has lived in the UK, France and the United States. His career included a period on the Chairman’s staff at IBM Corporation, in a group that studied the business impacts of globalization; he then led the subsequent reengineering of IBM’s worldwide contracts and contracting organization. Tim was the founder of IACCM and has led its development since incorporation in 1999.

IACCM

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The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (www.iaccm.com) is a non-profit membership organization first incorporated in 1999. The Association provides a global forum for innovation and collaboration in trading relationships and practices, inspiring leaders and change-agents from legal, contract management and procurement communities worldwide. It offers unique insights to the purpose and contribution of the contracting and relationship management process in both public and private sector. The IACCM membership currently includes representatives from more than 2,000 public and private sector organizations in over 110 countries, typically those with large revenues, international interests and dealing with complex or high-risk contract relationships.

USA Contract General October 2009 Vol. 3, No. 9, Autumn 2009