By: Joshua Hancock
Why Retaining Offsite General Counsel Can Provide Piece of Mind Without Depleting Your Budget
Every new, small business faces critical decisions everyday. Making the best decision in these moments will either make or break your business. The difference between ensuring long term success opposed to closing up shop shouldn’t come down to lack of sound legal advice.
A Rock and Hard Place
Many small businesses lack both the budget and the overall amount of legal work requiring the day to day attention of a committed general counsel. A good read regarding “When to Hire Your First House Counsel” can be found by Paige Zandri at Priori Legal.
However, without counsel, your start-up is left without a safety net and avails itself to potential liability down the road due to a lack of due diligence on simple legal matters. This means it’s too late and the damage has been done. You find yourself in defensive mode and obligated to hire outside counsel in an attempt to limit liability. Outside counsel is expensive and can potentially bust your budget with unforeseen legal expenses.
A Happy Medium
With offsite general counsel you get the best of both worlds. You save time and money by hiring an attorney that’s already familiar with your business without the cost of a general counsel on your payroll.
How it Works
Essentially, you contract with a law firm which in turn provides you access to attorneys within the firm. The amount of access given is flexible and generally predetermined by the needs of each individual business. For example, if your business routinely uses the same retail contract with the same seller for obtaining the same goods, you may only need access to the firm’s resources a few times a year. However, if your start-up is continuously negotiating deals with new and multiple parties, having access to offsite counsel on a daily or weekly basis may better serve your needs.
Hiring Offsite Counsel for Your Business
When considering hiring offsite general counsel, it’s important to remember not all firms are created equally. You must ensure the firm you choose not only has experience within your field, but that the firm also has a vast range of general business knowledge outside your industry. Although not an exhaustive list, the firm you choose should have expertise in the following areas:
- Acquiring and disposition of assets;
- Financing arrangements;
- Litigation and varying kinds of dispute resolution;
- Drafting contracts and reviewing contracts; and
- Applications for regulatory consents and licenses
Starting a successful business is stressful and requires a number of strategic decisions. When a key decision is being considered, alleviate your stress by obtaining your outside counsel’s approval before the move is implemented. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Acquire the piece of mind you deserve without depleting your budget.