Why Should I Retain a Business Attorney for my Business, as an Outside General Counsel?
If you don’t want to carry the internal overhead of an employee or if you have special projects, rush business or an overloaded in house legal department there may still be a lot you can gain by using a local business attorney on an Outside General Counsel basis so that you can consult with them on an as-needed basis while still maintaining the convenience and discretion of working with a single counsel on business needs and controlling legal costs.
Many business owners think that since their business does not need the overhead associated with hiring an attorney full-time. They simply need to hire an attorney on an as-needed basis like any other contractor or consultant. However, there are a few significant benefits to instead hiring a small business attorney to serve as your standing outside general counsel.
Objectivity + Confidentiality
An outside general counsel, like a traditional general counsel, has a duty to the organization as a whole that other contractors and advisors do not. Being involved on a consistent basis and communicating with an organization on a regular basis, helps your lawyer stay up to date with your ongoing transactions and business needs. On the other hand, by not working in the office each and every day, an outside general counsel has the opportunity to exercise objectivity on issues and people that may otherwise be lost to those that have an emotional connection to the business or its owners or employees. This often leads to advice leadership can more fully trust is untainted by any internal issues they may be currently addressing or needing to clarify. It can be dangerous to “get married” to the deal! I once heard a client remark during a due diligence process on an acquisition that if examined to closely it (the deal) might not be a billion-dollar deal! In all earnestness, it was important to the client that the transaction be worth at least one-billion dollars.
A Great Value to Businesses
There is an untold wealth of value an experienced business attorney can bring to your business. The exact nature of this value is up to the type of business you run and the attorney you hire, and the relationship between that attorney and the owners and other advisors involved in the business. Aside from experience, the ability to openly and effectively communicate with your business lawyer is key to the lawyer’s ability to assist you in your business and to your satisfaction with the advice you receive. This value typically includes things like providing input on planning decisions, acquiring or mitigating contractual rights, and ad hoc legal work. No one likes to spend hard earned dollars on lawyers, doctors or insurance. But often as the saying goes, it is better to spend a penny on prevention than a dollar on the cure.
Spotting & Avoiding Liabilities
As we just mentioned, an outside general counsel is a great way to prepare for issues or circumstances that could otherwise become extremely costly. There are many subtleties about transactions, contracts, relationships, employees, confidentiality and non-compete clauses that can expose your business to all kinds of legal mayhem. An outside general counsel can review any and all contracts and agreements to identify and take steps to remedy such potential liabilities. Moreover, outside counsel with an ongoing relationship with the business is in a better position to efficiently review and respond to these issues in a timely manner.
Fees Businesses Can Afford
Hiring an outside general counsel on a retainer is an economically efficient means for your business to gain access to experienced legal advice in a manner that can be tailored to your business budget.
These are just a few reasons your business may want to consider using an experienced business attorney like Stephen Rizzieri as your Outside General Counsel. If you have any additional questions or other related legal issues you’d like to discuss, call Stephen Rizzieri at 214.434.1017 or fill out the form on our law firm site today.