Contract Administrator vs. Contract Specialist: What's the Difference?

icon-contractWhile the differences between a contract administrator vs a contract specialist are sometimes subtle, they are significant. For instance, one way to differentiate the roles is by recognizing that contract administrators regularly fulfill a project management role while contract specialists often provide logistical support. However, these are not the only two positions dedicated to the contract approval process.

Contract administrators and contract specialists are key players in the contract approval process

You’ll also want to consider roles like legal project managers, contract analysts, and paralegals when parsing the essential contract management roles. Below we’ll explore these differences in more detail. We’ll also consider technology like artificial intelligence (AI) contract review that bridges these various roles and helps eliminate routine tasks and accelerate contract approval.

What Is a Contract Administrator vs. Contract Specialist?

Although responsibilities can overlap between the two roles, and their titles are sometimes used interchangeably, each position carries unique duties. Below, we’ll take a closer look at their distinct requirements.

Contract Administrator

A contract administrator is the agreement planner. As the name implies, their role is predominantly administrative. They may put the contract together, but they will need to seek approval from key parties as terms are revised. Contract administrators are involved throughout the contract lifecycle to ensure everything goes as planned. Common tasks include:

  • Planning the contract. 
  • Gathering information from stakeholders. 
  • Establishing timelines.  
  • Executing the contract.
  • Following up on contract renewal.

Contract Specialist

Contract specialists often focus on logistical tasks. Their responsibilities begin in the negotiation stage, where their analysis helps determine the best possible outcome for the involved parties. They may also return during the renewal phase to evaluate contract results and flag improvements for the next contract cycle. Tasks they handle include: 

  • Bid and proposal review.
  • Negotiations.
  • Regulatory compliance. 
  • Contract-specific research. 

Contract-focused roles extend beyond these two titles, though. Corporate legal departments and procurement teams can house several other positions involved in the contract approval process.

Additional Contract Roles To Know

Successful contract review, negotiation, and approval require the expertise of several parties. In addition to contract administrators and specialists, consider the following roles that contribute to contract creation, drafting, negotiation, and maintenance. 

Contract Manager

Contract managers are often in charge of bulk contract management. They may also handle analytics, template updates, and digital transformation on the contracting process. They may also control the playbook to ensure all involved parties adhere to organizational directives on contract management. 

Contract Analyst

Contract analysts spearhead risk mitigation for companies by reviewing the various contract terms and sections to eliminate potential financial losses or future disputes. They may also evaluate data from many contracts to understand how the process can be improved. 

Legal Project Manager

Legal project managers may handle contracts, but that is only a minor portion of their job. They are responsible for all aspects of the project the agreement covers. Their overall goal is to ensure the department runs efficiently and cost-effectively. 

Paralegal

Paralegals are a legal expert who will handle many of the administrative tasks involved in contracts. For example, they may organize a template for further attorney review or redline the first version of the agreement.  

 

Technology in the Contract Review Process

It is important to consider the differences between a contract administrator vs contract specialist as well as to recognize that additional parties may need to be involved in the contract approval process to deliver optimal results. However, legal teams should also examine the benefits of legal technology innovation to further enhance their contract approval process. 

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) contract review refers to a process that allows companies to automate much of their contract approval workflow. Based on data from your company’s previously negotiated agreements and the specifications of the negotiation playbook, an AI platform can review your agreements like a seasoned attorney, returning in two to three minutes a fully-redlined version of the contract that includes context-based revisions. 

While contract administrators and contract specialists carry out unique responsibilities, both positions benefit from the increased accuracy and accelerated contract negotiations that AI brings to the contract approval process.

LexCheck’s AI-powered contract review and negotiation solution supports contract administrators, specialists, managers, and more. Request a demo to see how our technology drives results, or email sales@lexcheck.com to learn more.

gary-sanghaGary Sangha | Founder & CEO

Gary Sangha is the Founder and CEO LexCheck. He's a serial entrepreneur and an academic. Gary previously founded Intelligize, a legal technology company that was acquired by LexisNexis. He's affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University and started his career as an attorney at Shearman & Sterling and White & Case.