Lawyers and procurement
I'm one of those dreaded legal guys. Here are some dirty little secrets from our end.
1. Every deal has a downside risk, just because s--t happens. Products get recalled, market conditions change, key people get hit by buses, etc.
2. People on the front lines need to assure their customers that if s--t happens, the company will take the hit. Behind them, though, there's usually some bean-counter who is high enough up the chain to wreck people's careers and whose understanding of risk begins and ends with the idea that we don't take any.
3. Nobody actually wants a lawyer to review a contract. People tend to want whatever they scrawled on a cocktail napkin at the customer lunch back to them by 5:00 with a gold star, an OK stamp, and a memo addressed to the aforementioned bean-counter promising that the lawyer will take responsibility if anything bad ever happens.
4. Principles #1 through #3 apply to both sides of the deal. Not just yours.
The above isn't by way of complaint, just observation based on many years of experience. In the immortal words of Don Corleone this is the life we have chosen and you're right that it's not a bad one.
A good lawyer knows how to write fair contracts that get deals done. The time suck starts when the bean-counters on both sides (sometimes aided by high-testosterone CEO/COO types who like to play dominance games) want to make the other guy accept deal risks that they wouldn't sign up for themselves.
Understand what risks your paperwork is asking the other side to sign up for, and if you don't understand anything in the contract - for instance, indemnification clauses are often important but are usually written in really dense legalese - take a few minutes to have your legal dept explain it. If your contract form isn't something that you as a business person would recommend that your own company sign, recognize that your risk aversion culture is probably getting in your own way.