Category Archives: career

Employment

Whether you have a job or are looking for a job, the time has come for contracts, procurement, sourcing and negotiating professionals to band together to help match each other with the right opportunities.

So, I would like to start a resume database.  Send yours here and we’ll see if there are opportunities that match the skills.

Oh, and if you have a job in this industry, let me know about it.  I won’t send you resumes that don’t at least match the basic requirements.

No money, no fees.  No referrals, no spiffs.  Just professionals helping professionals.

Net result?  I dunno’.  I make no promises.  But if we can keep at least one person employed, I’ll consider this experiment a success.

(Oh, and if someone would like to create an entire jobs board in my forums area, contact me to discuss it.)

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.

Deal Coder

My Macintosh-geekery is pretty extensive.  I’ve got a solid collection of Apple-related paraphernalia, computers, advertising pieces, etcetera.  Amongst the collection are about a hundred shirts (I’m not exaggerating here, ask my wife).  One of them is relatively recent and it’s one of the few that I wear, as the rest are pretty old.

This particular shirt is fairly plain – solid black with a white Apple logo on the back and in a rare departure from my preferred blank front, has “I (Apple logo) code.” on the front, dead-center on the chest.  When I wear it, I have always kinda’ felt like a fraud.  I don’t program computers.  The most I know are the names of the various languages: C, Perl, Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, etc.  But when asked, I always say that I couldn’t code my way out of a paper sack.

I realized today that I’m wrong – to borrow a marketing slogan from Apple, I just needed to Think Different.  Let’s start with two definitions.

Code (n): a system of words, letters or symbols assigned to something for the purposes of classification or identification.

Program (n): a series of instructions to control operation.

Hmmm… I think I might actually fit into these with a little twist. I am a Deal Coder.  Yep, that’s right… I write code and programs.  But you’d probably call it a contract.  I take words and symbols and I combine them in a specific way to achieve a particular result.  Each section of a contract is designed to address a specific set of circumstances.  We even have what computer programmers call “comments” in our code – have you ever read a “Whereas” clause?  It’s just a place for us to explain the why behind our code.

Heck, we even use similar language to describe how we run our code – execution.  Oh, and we have buggy code, too.  We issue contract revisions (amendments) much the same way a computer programmer provides bug fixes.  And when we’re done with our use, we terminate what we’ve done.

Like computer programmers, we not only have to learn the language we’re coding in, but more specifically, as we improve, we have to learn how to refine the language we use.  We clarify, we revise, we edit (see the work of Ken Adams in my blogroll).  We reduce the bulk (bloat) where we can and we look for ways in which we can recycle code we’ve written before.  Herein lays another overlap in language – we both have toolboxes of prior code that we use again and again to achieve a similar result.

So I am a Coder (Koder? 😉 ) and I do love my particular form of code.  I’m wearing my shirt today with a new found sense of pride!

Are you a Koder?


Law School Advice

I mention it from time to time, but I don’t usually dwell on the fact that I went to law school.  It was a fine education, and I had a good experience (no “hiding the book” type stuff – besides, doesn’t everyone realize if you’re the only one with the answer, everyone’s going to know it was you who hid the book?).  But I am not licensed to practice, I don’t/can’t advertise myself as an attorney… and I’m extremely satisfied both with the education received and with my career choice.

Apparently, people are going to law schools in droves these days (even when there aren’t the jobs to support them once they come out).  So when folks ask for my advice about applying and/or attending law school, I usually give some sort of pithy comment about making sure you really want to go – intended not to discourage, but to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to spend up to $150,000 and mostly cloister yourself for 3 years.

I was kinda’ amused to see a CBS Sports columnist commenting on going to law school.  But Clay’s got it right (except for #14 – Go Valpo!)… even if he comes across a little bitter.

So, if you’re thinking about law school… give the column a read.  Your ultimate decision to apply and/or attend is obviously up to you.  But I will say this.  If you’re a contracts person like I am… and you love it, there’s no must-have exclusive knowledge waiting for you in law school.  Having the degree is an advantage in certain cases – but many of the best contract negotiators, reviewers and drafters have music, English and philosophy degrees, if that.

What they do all have in common is a thirst for understanding what they do and a desire to constantly improve.  Law school won’t give you that – you have to come that way.  😉