Business Law

Business Law News 2014, Issue 4

Lessons from Litigating Technology Service Agreements

Blaine Green and Michael Murphy

Blaine Green is a partner with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, in the San Francisco office. Blaine litigates and arbitrates technology service and implementation disputes—as well as other complex commercial matters—with a particular focus on the transportation, telecommunications, energy and hospitality industries. In addition, Blaine leads Pillsbury’s Native American law practice.

Michael Murphy is a technology lawyer specializing in complex technology transactions. With over two decades of experience working inside companies and as an outside advisor and counselor, Michael helps companies transfer, implement and exploit disruptive technologies, and re-engineer business operations. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Commercial lawyers ink thousands of contracts every day. Faced with an ever-shortening business cycle, they do not have the luxury of seeking perfection in the contracting process. In-house lawyers in particular must behave like other executives and managers—triaging issues and focusing their efforts on a select few critical business issues and fundamental risk allocation terms. Fortunately, very few contracts become contentious and even fewer end up in litigation, but when they do, we sometimes wish we had paid more attention to the finer points of the contract. A formal dispute process seems to bring out the worst in commercial lawyers’ written work product, particularly missing, conflicting, ambiguous, and unfavorable terms.

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