How early do you involve your legal advisor in your alliance discussions?
Creating alliances is something we cannot do alone, obviously. But still we all have been in the situation where we have left people out from the discussion who should actually have been there. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes simply overlooked. For some functions in an organization it is not always clear when to involve them and some should be involved early on in the process.
The legal function is one of those functions that should be involved early on in the process of creating alliances. It is also one of those functions that is left out or involved too late in the process. When leaving them out with the thoughts that they are only there to create the agreement, we can make a capital mistake. As non-legal professionals we unknowingly make the wrong agreements with our prospective alliance partner that we can legally not live up to. The legal function also serves as an advisor in the early process and can safe us from making the wrong agreements.
“Legal and practical, a contradiction?” is the title of a white paper by Luuk van der Laan, who is a legal alliance professional. In the white paper Luuk elaborates on the aspects of legal involvement in alliance creation. It is a good 12-page primer to make one realize again what the area of legal involvement in alliances is and why it is important. Worth the read and you can download the paper here.