Value of a Contracts Person

I’ve been asked, at every job I’ve been on, to justify my existence.  Some places just want to know what I do.  Others really care about the dollar value of the role to the company.  E-mail did it once.  Another was a full-blown business case.  But the end result is always the same – somehow, in some way, I have to convince someone who doesn’t know what I do that I matter.  So I figured that perhaps some of the lessons I learned could work for you, too.

Format:  Find what your organization wants, but typically, I suggest finding your organization’s business case document and using it.  Like being overdressed is better than being underdressed, so it is with the format.

Length:  If you don’t have a business case template to follow, you should be able to justify yourself in under 2 pages.

Purpose:  Don’t be super blunt.  Explain the reason you’re there:  you bridge a gap between lawyers and technologists/executives.  You have specialized skills.  You have experience and training.  You have the ability to protect the company.  You have the capacity to complete deals more efficiently.

Cost:  You won’t normally have access to other people’s salaries.  But you can make mild assumptions about counsel and executive salaries compared to yours.  More specifically, you show that the time that a specialist such as yourself requires to close a deal is much less than those who are not specialists.. and as a result, you can get more done for your annual salary.  This then allows counsel to work on more “important” things and prevents non-trained individuals from attempting to do the job (you have to come up with a smooth way of saying this within your company so as not to offend anyone).

Cost Savings/Avoidance:  If you’ve been in the game long enough, you’ll have an idea of how much you can save your firm on an annual basis.  But remember, this usually only works if you have access to all of the deals (not just those people want to hand you).  So be careful about promising a given level of savings, but sometimes, you’ll need to do so.

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