IBM: Simplifying the Contractual Path to the Cloud
Institutional dislike for lawyers is no new thing. Comments by philosophers from Plato to Jerry Seinfeld suggest that lack of affection and respect for members of the bar have been around for well over two millennia, but it could be far longer than that.
Why so? It could be the inherently adversarial nature of the profession, though experience suggests that people tend to like their own lawyers well enough, at least when they win. There’s also often a sense that the process of legalization, especially as it applies to contractual agreements, adds unnecessary complexity, opaqueness and cost to processes that were once settled with a simple handshake.
Good enough, but if that’s the case, what do you call a lawyer or lawyers who go out of their way to reduce or wholly eliminate contractual complexity? Many would call them rare, but I would call them employees of IBM.
Why this is the case came to light over the holidays, when I learned that IBM had received the 2014 Innovation Award for Operational Improvement from the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM), a global association for commercial and contract management professionals, for “boldly and rapidly transforming its cloud computing contract process.”
What inspired the award? Under the direction of Neil Abrams, assistant general counsel at IBM, a team of company lawyers spent just two months to replace a highly complex contract that was nearly 40 pages long with a new standard two page agreement that covers all of IBM’s some 150 cloud services offerings.
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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review.