Have you realized that your company continues to encounter legal complications
but you are never prepared to handle them? It is probably time to hire
a general counsel for your company, or at least consider an alternative.
In the last blog entry from Whitley LLP Attorneys at Law, which you can view by
clicking here, we discussed the top reasons why companies depend on outsourced general
counsel. However, before you spring to the decision to hire an in-house
lawyer or built an entire legal department, you should understand all
of your options.
Hiring a full-time in-house general counsel may not always be the right
fit for various reasons, such as:
- You might not have the space needed to provide them an office.
- You might not have enough finances to provide them a competitive salary.
- You might not have the resources to provide them with employment benefits,
like healthcare coverage.
- You will most likely need to create a full department with general counsel,
assistant general counsel, paralegals, secretaries, and so forth.
- Your company may not necessarily have enough legal work to justify hiring
a full-time general counsel or corporate legal department.
Outside Counsel Only When Needed
At the same time, you might be tired of seeing your legal expenses grow
out of control by using outside law firms for every legal complication.
An alternative to consider is having a lawyer or law firm handle cases
on an hourly basis only as needed. This is not really general counsel
at all, though. You might be surprised to find the engagement process,
or getting ahold of “your lawyer” may be difficult, especially
if your company is not considered high-value or a regular client. There
is also the added risk of paying unpredictable legal fees that can run
up to $1,000 per hour or more once associates’ rates and other stipulations
are included. Some lawyers may also inflate the amount of hours they work
on a case to meet their billable hour quota.
Alternative Billing Arrangements to Consider
Problems associated with using outside counsel on-demand may be avoided
by using alternative billing arrangements, such as flat fees. However,
flat fees are usually only arranged for sizeable engagements or contracts.
When agreeing to flat fee legal service, there is also the issue of there
being no “institutional knowledge” being built up by the attorney.
Everything is piecemeal, making it harder to put in place the proper legal
and compliance processes necessary, as well as to integrate the legal
department with your company’s corporate strategy.
Outsourced General Counsel Might Be Right for Your Company
There is one more alternative method. With outsourced general counsel,
your company hires a lawyer or law firm to provide services as general
counsel on an outsourced basis. This is similar to the outsourced or fractional
CFO services provided by many firms today.
Not all outsourced general counsel firms are equal, though. Some want to
“have their cake and eat it too” by charging you for a “basket”
of hours, or a certain minimum amount of hours charged per month, and
then charge you more if you surpass that amount. That system puts an unfair
amount of risk on the client. In a truly fair and equitable outsourced
general counsel arrangement, the law firm takes on risk as well, namely
that the services that the law firm will have to provide will take more
billable hours than the monthly fee would dictate.
Whitley LLP Attorneys at Law offers trustworthy, experienced, and efficient
outsourced general counsel to companies and businesses of all sizes and
in all sorts of industries. You can
click here to learn more about our outsourced general counsel service, which allows
your company to get the legal advice and services that it needs at a fraction
of the cost of hiring an in-house lawyer or creating an in-house legal
department. If you would like to talk to one of our attorneys directly,
please feel free to call
888.252.8277 or fill out an
online contact form.