Lies we lawyers tell you

We mean well, we lawyers. But do well? Ah, that's another thing.

It's Alfresco's end of quarter, and so as ever I'm spending my last few weeks of the quarter wading through contracts. If you've had the joy of working with contracts and those who make a living reviewing, editing, or creating them, you will have heard or read these words:

"I was able to accept most of the changes. There are just a few last items to discuss. I think we're almost there."

Translation?

"I approved all of your formatting changes but we're still oceans apart on the truly nettlesome issues that neither you nor I want to budge on. Bring a sleeping bag to work because we're not finishing up any time soon."

Maybe people say "almost there" to try to soothe the opposing counsel; to lull them into accepting odious terms that they would never approve if offered to them. Whatever the reason, we're not "almost there" until the contract is black and white with no redlines. At that point it will still take a week to find the person with signing authority back at her desk.

"Almost" lasts an eternity.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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