Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Red Lights

I've been repeatedly learning a lesson about working in-house: don't let your clients bully you. This is difficult because attorneys want to make their clients happy; even in-house, where your "clients" are other people at your company.

For example, I had a program manager (an engineer) insist that we have the rights to use this code in a new Solaris build. I had to dredge up the agreement and review it while fending off the barrage of emails telling me they needed this approval today because it was mission critical to a pending release. I was frantically emailing up the chain to get confirmation of our licensing rights, as the agreement the client provided wasn't a solid strike.

Finally I got on the phone with a senior attorney, who praised me for flagging it and calmed me down. She reminded me that if the release was delayed a day, it wasn't the end of the world. This isn't the first time I've gotten worked up because of clients trying to rush my approval. Part of it is inexperience - I assume that the clients must know better, because I haven't been here that long. There's a lot of pressure not to get in the way of a deal. But there's a balance between business and legal interests, and the reality is that sometimes, doing your job means being a roadblock.


Elmer said...

One of the favorite things one of my clients once told me when I apologetically had to stop his big deal from signing because there were some scary provisions that could harm the company and tell him that he couldn't sign it unless he got board approval:

That's okay. I've been doing this a long time. I'm the gas. You're the breaks. It works...

Sansserif said...

I love this, and have used it to much success with several clients. Thanks!