Outside General Counsel Services

Businesses often need legal advice to help them avoid problems, monitor compliance, and to protect their rights and interests. Large companies often turn to in-house counsel for most of these issues. But, what happens when you cannot afford a legal department? When you don’t have attorneys on staff, you turn to outside general counsel.

The biggest advantage of having outside general counsel is access. You have access to a legal adviser that you know and trust. Instead of treating your business’s legal needs in an ad hoc manner, working with random or semi-random attorneys that may or may not fully understand the current legal matter you and your company are facing, you will be working with an attorney that understands your business and its inherent limitations; one you can trust to fully understand the legal issues.

When you hire Walsh Banks Law to act as your outside counsel you will have a piece of mind that you have access to trusted legal counsel that you can rely on to be there when needed. Have a question about a contract? Need a commercial lease reviewed? Need employee manuals and HR policies developed? Need a contract reviewed or drafted? As your general counsel you can pick up the phone or drop us an email and get those questions answered before you make that critical decision.

For most small businesses and mid-sized companies the number one reason to hire outside counsel, is to have access to experienced, reputable and trusted legal advice when they need it. Whatever the business related legal matter you or your company are facing, we have the experience and expertise to provide solid, practical, and effective legal counsel.

Want more information about our Outside General Counsel service call us at (407) 259-2426
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Business people meeting with outside counsel

Working with outside counsel can save you time and money, Both of which are better spent building a growing successful business instead of legal issues.

What is Outside Counsel?

Outside general counsel, or outside counsel, are lawyers you retain to advise you on critical issues that affect your business. They are not employees of your company. Instead they are independent service providers. You can think of them as outsourced counsel. You avoid the costs of adding employees, but still have access to top legal talent when you need it.

Why Businesses Hire Outside Counsel

Businesses hire outside counsel to help them avoid or resolve legal issues so they can focus on running the business and improving revenues. Outside counsel handles issues such as:

  • Contract reviews
  • Contract disputes
  • Compliance issues
  • Securities issues relating to issuing stocks or stock options
  • Reviewing potential mergers or acquisitions
  • Negotiating or reviewing real estate transactions
  • Investigating internal employee misconduct
  • Litigation

Businesses hire outside counsel when:

  • They need legal advice, but they don’t have an in-house legal team
  • Their in-house counsel lacks expertise in a particular area
  • Their in-house counsel needs additional support for a specific project or case

How Businesses Without Staff Attorneys Use Outside Counsel

There are two different models for how businesses without an in-house staff of lawyers use outside counsel:

  1. Retain outside counsel for individual issues
  2. Retain outside counsel on an ongoing basis

Retain outside counsel for individual issues

Under this approach, a company realizes it needs some legal expertise. Because it does not have legal department to turn to, they hire outside counsel to advise them on a specific issue. They may negotiate a flat fee or pay per billable hour for the services of an outside law firm. However, the work is limited to a single issue.

Once the matter is concluded, the company becomes a former client of the outside counsel. When another legal issue comes up, the company may turn to the same firm and hire them again as outside counsel for a specific issue.

Companies seeking to tightly control costs often use this approach. It works best when companies do not anticipate a lot of legal issues in their business. Even though the company only hires outside counsel for a single issue at a time, it still has the opportunity to develop a professional relationship with the outside law firm.

The firm is able to learn about the structure, culture, and business needs of the company throughout the relationship. The knowledge that grows out of the regular collaboration allows the firm to become more efficient. This helps keep legal costs manageable for the company.

Outside general counsel, the legal experts you need when you need them.

Retaining outside counsel on a continuous basis means you have the expertise you need when you need it.

Retaining outside counsel on a continuous basis

This second method is often used by companies that do not wish to have a full-time legal department, or who do not have enough revenues to justify a full-time legal department. Instead of hiring a lawyer and support staff as employees, they outsource this need by retaining outside counsel.

Instead of just retaining a firm as needed, they pay a monthly retainer so that outside counsel is always available to deal with any legal issues as they come up. When a firm is only hired for specific issues the relationship is filled with starts and stops. Under a monthly retainer the relationship is continuous.

Companies experiencing rapid growth often choose this method because it offers them stability. They know they can get excellent legal advice right when they need it. It also makes legal costs predictable, as the monthly legal retainer becomes a line item in the corporate budget.

How Businesses With In-House Counsel Use Outside Counsel

It isn’t just business without an in-house legal team that turn to outside counsel for legal help. Often large and medium companies with existing legal departments also hire outside counsel.

Sometimes a legal issue requires a different set of experience and expertise than the in-house counsel possesses. Outside counsel may be retained to deal with a specific issue. This could include anything from intellectual property issues to complex real estate transactions. Great lawyers know it is important to get expert help when faced with an unfamiliar challenge. Outside counsel work hand-in-hand with a company’s in-house legal team to help the company make the best decision in a given situation.

A company with in-house counsel may need legal reinforcements to deal with a complex case. Often companies will only have a single lawyer in their legal department. In some types of complex commercial litigation, that may not be enough. Outside counsel may be hired to assist with trial preparations such as conducting depositions or reviewing document intensive court-ordered discovery.

In these situations outside counsel works as both extra manpower and as an additional set of advisors that can give an outside perspective on the current legal challenges the company is facing.

What to Look For When Hiring Outside Counsel

Regardless of why you need to hire outside counsel, there are key characteristics you want your outside counsel to have. These include:

  • Experience working as outside counsel- you don’t want to have to educate your lawyer about how they need to do their job
  • A solid understanding of business- your outside counsel needs to understand the business constraints on your decision making
  • A client first philosophy- you need outside counsel working for your goals and protecting your interests
  • A willingness to learn and listen- before outside counsel can do their job, they need to learn about how your business operates
  • Keeping you up to date on the status of your case- you should never be kept in the dark about the progress of your legal issues

Outside counsel is an important role that allows businesses of all sizes to get the legal help they need without having the expense of in-house counsel and supporting legal staff. Having an outside counsel looking out for your business means you get to spend more time growing your business and less time worrying about legal issues and their inherent risk.

You made it this far, why not give us a call and find out what our Outside General Counsel Services can do for you and your business?

Call (407) 259-2426
Or

Downtown Orlando Office

790 N. Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: (407) 259-2426
Toll Free: (866) 801-2636
Fax: (407) 391-3626

Metrowest Orlando Office

7065 Westpointe Blvd., Ste 311
Orlando, FL 32825
Email: contact@walshbanks.com

About

Walsh Banks Law is a boutique law firm located in Orlando, Florida. We specialize in business law, real estate law and commercial litigation.