Outside General Counsel Services
Instead of treating your business’s legal needs in an ad hoc manner or 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 a business lawyer 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 genereal 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?.
What is an Outside General 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 lawyers. You avoid the costs of adding employees, but still have access to top legal talent when you need it.
Why Businesses Hire Outside Legal Counsel
Businesses hire outside legal counsel because it is a cost effective way to gain access to experienced skilled lawyers to help them avoid or resolve legal issues so they can focus on running the business and improving revenues. The most common reason a small to mid-sized business will hire an outside general counsel is to manage the business’ day-to-day common on-going legal matters. Larger companies that have in-house legal staff primarily hire outside legal counsel specialized legal projects or litigation.
- 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.
- Their in-house counsel needs additional support for the day-to-day legal work.
How Businesses Without Staff Attorneys Use Outside General Counsel
There are two different models for how businesses without an in-house staff of lawyers use outside general counsel:
- Retain outside legal counsel for individual issues
- Retain outside general counsel on an ongoing basis
Retaining outside legal counsel for individual issues
Under this approach, a company realizes it needs some legal expertise. Because it does not have a legal department to turn to, they hire outside legal 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 legal 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.
Retaining outside General counsel on a continuous basis
This second method is often used by companies that do not wish to have a full-time legal department. Who have a significant amount of on-going legal work that needs to be addressed but not enough to justify hiring full time legal staff. Instead of hiring a lawyer and support staff as employees, they outsource this need by retaining an outside law firm.
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 legal 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 legal 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 legal counsel may be hired to assist with trial preparations such as conducting depositions or reviewing document intensive court-ordered discovery.
In these situations outside legal 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.
Key Characteristics of Good Outside General Counsel
Regardless of why you need to hire outside legal counsel, there are key characteristics you want them to have. These include:
- Experience working as outside legal counsel. You don’t want to have to educate your lawyer about how they need to do their job.
- A solid understanding of business. They need to understand the business constraints on your decision making.
- A client first philosophy. Whoever you hire should put your goals and interests first.
- A willingness to listen and learn. Before outside general counsel can do their job well, 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 general 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.
Why Choose Walsh Banks for Your Outside Counsel Needs?
When you are working with an outside general counsel you need a firm that can get up to speed on your business quickly and hit the ground running. Our team has years of experience representing hundreds of businesses just like yours in a variety of different transactions, cases, and disputes. We have the knowledge, expertise, and experience you need to make sure you make the right decisions for your business.
Because we have an extensive track record of successful business transactions and successful commercial litigation our firm is ready to advise you on any corporate issue and help you take the appropriate legal action to protect your interests.
Need a commercial lease reviewed? Need employee manuals and HR policies developed? Need a contract reviewed or drafted? When we are 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 general 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.
You don’t want to have to work with a series of different firms. Walsh Banks Law can handle all of your business, corporate, real estate, finance; as-well-as dispute resolution and litigation needs legal needs.