Profile of a Contracts Specialist

Legal contracts are at the heart of every business relationship. Wherever manufacturers make and sell goods, businesses purchase professional services, or government entities engage private-sector firms to do work on the public’s behalf – there are contracts to create and review.

When these contracts are large, complex, or unusually risky, attorneys will draft the documents. However, many contracts represent straightforward arrangements or recurring transactions with few changes year-to-year. For the latter, many organizations find that having lawyers prepare the contracts is an ineffective use of resources. This is where Contract Specialists earn a valued role.

Job Description

Managing legal contracts is not a job for amateurs. An extra comma, a misspelled word, an outdated paragraph, etc. are all opportunities for a little slip-up that could cause a big (and expensive) problem. It’s the job of a Contracts Specialist to see that every contractual detail receives the attention it deserves. Among the typical duties of these specialists:

  • Drafts, reviews, revises, and negotiates contractual agreements.
  • Coordinates approvals of business agreements with both internal departments, and external parties who have a stake in the resulting agreement.
  • Provides interpretative assistance to colleagues and third parties. Resolves contract-related disputes and responds to inquiries from partners, vendors, and internal staff.
  • Maintains a working knowledge of current laws, standards, regulations and guidelines.
  • Assembles and manages database records of contractual terms.

Job Requirements

Generally, Contract Specialist positions require a bachelor’s degree, preferably with an emphasis on business or paralegal studies. Employers also look favorably on paralegal certification and several years of relevant experience. In some cases, a law degree is required if the contracts under review are especially complex or consequential. It all depends on the employer’s unique needs.

An interesting aspect of this position is that it calls upon a strong aptitude for both words and numbers. Contractual language is nuanced with meaning — requiring a sharp-eyed reader to carefully review words, phrases, and the grammar that ties them together. (Many is the court decision that has turned on the placement of a comma — and those are the details that can make-or-break a contractual document.) But words alone are not enough. Contracts Specialists must also possess a literacy with database management and spreadsheets.

A Successful Contracts Specialist?

Individuals who are dependable, well-organized, detail-minded, trustworthy, and committed to protecting the best interests of their organization will succeed as a Contracts Specialist. The best-of-the-best also are adept at negotiations, collaboration and building trust among a diverse set of stakeholders. They ensure that the resulting contractual agreements are clear, up-to-date, fair and legally binding.

The Average National Base Salary for Contracts Specialists (according to our 2017 Salary Guide data) is $78,101.

Contact one of our recruiters today to see what Contracts Specialist positions we have available today!

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