Me: Here are the redlines you asked for.

Sales: Oh, this is way too many redlines. This is actually a very very standard contract in my experience.

Me:

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"The client is not going to accept this."

Noted. Now can I talk to the naysayer on the client’s team that unhelpfully bats for the other side?

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Also, remind me, who do you work for again?

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To be fair…Sometimes I hate opposing lawyers because they redline just to redline. Where 2/10 of the changes are substantive, and the other 8 are useless “adding belt to suspenders” tweaks

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My go to hack for negotiating our sales contracts (involves software licenses and OC that aren’t terribly versed in them): I send them a locked word doc that they can only input comments, not redlines.

My MO is, give me bullet points of the problems you have and let’s have an initial talk about your concerns. This allows me to answer questions and clear up confusion on the call and offer alternatives at a high level (no live drafting) and get their tentative agreement. Then I’ll talk to my team internally and swap in canned alternative verbiage.

It’s absolutely brilliant. It prevents the other side from getting married to certain verbiage they input; cuts the drafts down from 5-8 to 1-3; gets me talking to OC instead of a procurement rep; and allows me to horse trade much easier (“I can give you this alternative verbiage at Section 5 and 9, but only if those are the only substantive changes and you let go of your sought changes at 4 and 6, as noted your concerns at 4/6 are already addressed with ‘blah blah blah’.”)

Initially it’s way more work but on the whole it takes about half as many hours as sending 5-8 drafts.

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A fear of going in house. At least I get paid a good fraction of $1mm to run excessive redlines.

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“IMO this isn’t a legal issue”

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I agree with sales here. Lawyers are used to being at law firms, where you typically have to redline things that are 1% litigation/dispute risks [or CYA a lack of redlining] to avoid malpractice concerns. In-house, even if a clause doesn’t make sense or is lopsided, if it’s not a genuine litigation/dispute risk, don’t even touch it. If you’re making > 5 redlines on a contract, it’s probably a good idea to take a breather and then re-evaluate if you’re over-lawyering the situation.

likesmart

Low risk vs high risk. Low risk (both likelihood and low dollar value) just point them out to the business/commercial leader who has doa to approve. It usually makes sense to dig a bit to see how much leverage your business has, and dig into context of the transaction.

Communicate outcomes (you surely didnt mean that we can agree to x, because if y happened, z is the loss etc) vs just saying no.

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