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Reality IT: Flying High -- and Low -- With IT Legal Eagles

They say laughter is the best medicine, which may be why lawyer jokes are so popular. I know I need some kind of treatment, because dealing with ACME's legal department drives me crazy.

ACME's legal eagles do play a role in securing agreements with new IT vendors for purchases and technology contracts. The irony is that while our lawyers try to protect our interests, they are always a hindrance and sometimes even responsible for scaring off vendors with promising IT solutions.

We frequently turn to our legal department when we need to establish an NDA (nondisclosure agreement) with new vendors. I won't let our IT staff give too much technical information to prospective vendors without an NDA to protect detailed discussions about our network. But this discretion comes at a price: Most vendors now have their own preferred NDA format, which usually prompts our legal department to suggest a mutual NDA to protect both parties. And then, as you can imagine, they haggle over changes while the IT department and vendor's sales staff wait anxiously.

Cross Purposes

In some cases we've had to walk away from a good product because the legal department refused to accept certain conditions of the licensing agreement or terms of service. Recently we had to eliminate two products on our shortlist because of interference from legal, though the vendors had strong technical and cost-effective proposals.

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