Thanks, Phyllis, I am glad that you found the webinar helpful; it was certainly a great session to moderate, with some really good questions at the end. I agree - we often don't pay enough attention to the learning style and the impact that has on how information is absorbed. Paul Branch
In the US, Texas or New York are largely considered "neutral territory" whereas in Europe, until very recently UK law was considered neutral. I think that may change with the recent political upheaval.
• Ministry of Defence
Or try international trade law?
• Legal and Commercial Training Limited
In the case of one party proposing Indian law and the other proposing Singapore law, the parties may well choose the law of England and Wales as both Indian law and Singapore law are based upon English and Welsh common law. (Note that there is no such concept as "UK law" as one commentator has suggested below).
However, a party should consider a wide range of factors before proposing a particular governing law and should weigh up the legal and commercial advantages and disadvantages of all the options.
One factor may be the degree of certainty that a contract will be interpreted in a particular way. English law adheres to the doctrine of binding precedence. Some legal systems do not. This could lead to significant uncertainty as to how the law will be applied.
In English law, it may be perceived that the courts allow a greater degree of freedom of contract. Subject to certain exceptions, freedom of contract in English law means that commercial parties are completely free to make disastrous bargains. This illustrates the comparative reluctance of the English courts to interfere on policy or other grounds to rewrite the parties' contracts for them.
For example, in English law it is possible, provided very clear wording is used, to include an exclusion clause that excludes any and all liability whatsoever, even for a deliberate breach of contract. And there is still no recognition of a duty of good faith being applied generally to commercial agreements (but watch this space!). This may or may not be an advantage to you but it remains the case that the courts are likely to give effect to the wording of the contract without imposing their opinions as to what does or does not amount to good faith.
And you may wish to consider the approach of a particular legal system to particular clauses.
For example, in English law, a liquidated damages clause will be subject to the clarification set out recently by the Supreme Court with a subsequent judgment, applying that test, indicating that a freely-negotiated LD clause is likely to be upheld subject to the requirements set out by the Supreme Court. Under UAE law, such a provision would be subject to Article 390(2) of the Civil Code and either party may apply to the court to adjust the agreed amount of compensation so it is equal to the loss. If Indian law were to apply, we would have to consider the effect of section 74 of the Indian Contracts Act 1872.
English law will also recognise an asymmetric jurisdiction clause.
And it may be that the choice of law clause will be reflected in the choice of jurisdiction. So, English law and the English courts. If the choice of courts is to reflect the choice of law, it may well be the consideration should be given to the efficacy of the court system and the technical expertise and other qualities of the judges.
There are two things you can do for them. First is the MOOC which is a broad overview of commercial and contract management. But they have to sign up now as the program is almost over. They can catch up.
Also the IACCM Fundamentals Program is another good source of learning to look at for that level.
There are a few places to go to get (at least US based) government contracts training. Check out NCMAHQ or FedPubSeminars. Be advised both options do have cost involved. I know there are Universities as well (such as Villanova) that provide Government contracts training (again FAR/DFARS based). Hope this helps and don't hesitate to reach out.
• CitizenSteward International LLC
What type of program are interested in (e.g. short training, certification, degree)? And, are you interested in a particular market (e.g. US, EU, etc.) or broader training on government procurement practices in particular?
If you provide a little more information, I can point you in the right direction.
We could also set up a call and discuss if you'd like. Just shoot me a direct message if you're interested.
Daniel - I recommend you go for it. However, I have two perspectives on this based on experience; and one personal perspective that underlies my decision to take the same course of action you're contemplating. I worked as a US Federal Contracting Officer for almost ten years - the first seven before I attended/completed law school. Subsequently, I have worked in the private sector including large, global agreements in the IT industry.
Experience perspective 1: Some attorneys and paralegals felt threatened in some manner because I had a law degree. Their perspective is that they are "legal" and I should only be dealing with commercial matters, leaving the "legal" issues to them. I've actually heard some in legal oppose the hiring of Contract Management professionals who also possess a law degree. Finally, I also had at least one manager who apparently felt threatened that subordinates (I and five other Contract Managers) had law degrees from colleges and universities from around the world and had told me that he would not agree to hire an "attorney" for a role I had on my team.
Experience perspective 2: Other attorneys and paralegals I have worked with were more self-confident and not threatened by the fact I had a law degree and was licensed to practice law. Instead, we worked together to leverage my legal knowledge/skills to help manage their time. I would escalate issues and have regular touch-point meeting so that they were informed as to ongoing issues and permit us to collaborate and discuss difficult legal/contractual issues. It also gave me more flexibility to negotiate agreements that protected the legal and business interests of the party I worked for without having to go back to "mommy/daddy" each time an issue arose in the negotiations. At the same time, we also had a working knowledge of the limits of my authority and a good working relationship where I could quickly escalate and propose a solution for them to consider and ask questions about - something we called the "4Cs", ("Communicate, Collaborate, Consult and Crosscheck"). I had learned this from a wonderful attorney who had been the general counsel where I had once worked.
Personal perspective: I decided to go to law school because as a US Government Contracting Officer I had to regularly discuss issues with our attorneys. Not having a sound understanding of the broad areas of the law that applied (not just contracts) sometimes caused me confusion when the attorney would try to explain something - particularly when it ultimately impacted the contract or the enforceability of a provision in the contract. I decided to go to law school to gain a better understanding. It resulted in me have a much deeper understanding of contract principles that must be applied and of the concepts we all rely on (whether or not we realize it) when we draft, negotiate, operationalize and enforce our contracts. I recommend you go for it.
• Neptune Marine Service Ltd
If you can afford the time & cost for the legal degree (LLB or JD)- then will be worth considering that.
From my personal experience, some sort of Commercial/ Contracts/ Business law certifications or diploma will give the required knowledge and upper edge for the jobs.
• AusNet Services
Hi Daniel, I don't believe a law degree is necessary. It depends on the role.
I am legally qualified and I echo Mark's comments. I find that I am better able to articulate the risk I see with my legal friends.
The main thing is do you want to do it? A law degree will give you additional skill such a negotiation etc. It will also give you confidence in the law around contract law, construction, tort and tax.
But a law degree will also give you so much detail on those areas that you won't need all in your role.
• BAE Systems
I was also a Commercial Manager at GE for approx. 4 years and with the company 11 years. Since my redundancy just over a year ago, I have been trying to find a like-for-like Commercial Operations function like we had at GE but a number of Commercial Manager roles sit either in the Finance function or the Legal function, not as their own Commercial Operations function.
I'm contemplating doing a Juris Doctor to gain legal qualifications on top of my BBus and MBA Exec as I don't want to go down a CA/CPA path. Otherwise I am exploring the IACCM certification.
Hope it all goes well for you with the decision,
• Itron, Inc.
Depends on how your organization is structured but typically no. In fact there is a good argument that they should not be lawyers as that role has different specialties.
As far as the interpretation will not be different from one to one. Most importantly is to have the same interpretation by all readers/audiences including and most importantly "judges" :)
I like this idea. 15 years ago(!) a colleague tried to introduce 'plain English' contracts to a UK Aerospace manufacturer. It had some success, but ultimately didn't take hold. I am guilty of saying "execute" instead of "sign" and "pursuant to" instead of, er, well nothing really.
Highly appreciated initiative. Increasing the user friendliness of contracts are, in my view, not prioritized. But you are up against a tradition and practice that is hard to change, even through graphic illustrations are proven to have multiple benefits.
Camilla Andersen gave a presentation on Comic Contracts in the last local DK IACCM meeting facilitated by Ramboll. Where you place yourself in the scale of using graphics (visulisations supporting the text or a full blown comic contract) may depend on the case, audience and "environment" you are operating in..
Camilla also provided this link: www.comicbookcontracts.com/