Culture, Feature, Law

Letters to a Young Tech Attorney: Don’t Be an Asshole

January 10, 2017

If any of your relatives ever told you that you should go to law school because you like to argue, it didn’t mean that they thought you should go to law school. It was just a polite way of letting you know that you’re an asshole.

We’ll get back to this point later because I want to move on to telling you how to be a better technology attorney.

I’m an attorney, and I’m mostly not an asshole (at least, not while I’m being an attorney). Specifically, I’m an in-house attorney. I’ve been in technology law since the 1990’s. That was before the cloud. That was even before the cringe-inducing acronym “SaaS.” I’ve been in this space this whole time because I really really really like technology and love working with innovative products and the brilliant teams that develop them.

Now, technology companies tend to need other technology companies as vendors — that’s the nature of the industry. If you’re running a platform, your team is going to want to use various widgets, APIs, analytic whoseywhatsits, and a load of things that suddenly exist and will make your product even that much better. And for each vendor, a company has to execute a contract (except for the guy that delivers fruit every week — it’s not clear who pays him or if we even asked for the fruit). This is where the legal team comes in.

You know who enjoys negotiating vendor agreements? Nobody. Not the attorney at the customer of the vendor. Not the attorney at the vendor. Even the mother of an attorney on either side would say, “Meh. Vendor agreement. My kid netted to zero again.” Exactly zero people enjoy negotiating vendor agreements. Possibly fewer than zero.

Read the rest here on Medium.

[Photo credit: Josue Bieri]

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