Surprisingly, many serious problems arise from low quality documentation of critical company protocols.
They once started off as specific treatment of an important company project or function. Over the years, laws and circumstances changed, and the documentation of vital relationships and functions were changed to accommodate current reality. New terms and provisions were pasted into the documents, but in the process the documents weren’t evaluated for how they fit together as a composite whole.
The result was an often used protocol that fought against itself internally with inconsistent provisions. As one federal judge put it, “It is obvious that someone at the plaintiff company seriously attempted to cover all the bases. But, like Marvelous Marvin Throneberry, they missed every one.” The agreement was totally useless. If there had not been several non-contract claims for relief, the case would have been lost.
Similar disastrous results occur when someone simply takes some form document that they bought at a stationery store or on the Internet and then just changes or inserts names, dates, and places without a careful review of whether every provision in the purchased document really works the way the parties intend that it should. While savings may be achieved purchasing form documents, they have to be evaluated for “fit.”
Sooner or later someone wants to change a relationship in a way you believe is not permitted in an agreement. The agreement doesn’t work the way you intended it to work, and opposing counsel has found the weaknesses. Your company executives now have to give in or try to defend something that doesn’t support your position. It doesn’t work that way in most instances. You lose.
How long has it been since your fundamentally critical portfolio of agreements has been evaluated for accuracy, completeness, effectiveness, and fit? It can’t be done by a lawyer sitting in an office. The people who must live or die by those agreements have to be in the loop. What do they expect these protocols to provide for the company? Has that been accomplished? Can they withstand cross-examination on your company’s most important claims, disclosures, and agreements?