Where Legal Spend Actually Goes and Why Predictable Legal Matters
Especially for small-to-medium sized businesses, legal spend can feel precarious. On one hand, being under-served opens your company up to unnecessary risk, but on the other, budgeting for legal can be painful, especially while operating on slim margins. The average attorney charges between $150 to $325 an hour, while lawyers in larger cities or with larger firms may charge upwards of $1,000 per hour.
When paying these types of rates, it’s human nature to wonder where your legal spend is actually going. Unfortunately, when working with traditional attorneys and firms, about 45-55% of your legal spend commonly goes towards operating costs. This means that about half of your spend goes towards their overhead and into partners’ pockets. However, this “traditional model” is no longer the only option. What if you could get the exact same amount of legal work for half of the cost? Would having predictable legal spend benefit your company? What if you could have the benefits of an in-house counsel who is dedicated, aligned with your corporate goals, and able to provide services in a scalable fashion, for a fraction of the cost? These questions are no longer “what ifs”, and a predictable legal model provides a much more transparent, accessible way to both provide and receive legal services.
For Businesses, the Outsourced General Counsel Model Provides More Bang for Your Buck
As a business in growth stage, your circumstances and needs can change rapidly. You may need increased funds for a variety of different reasons, and having the ability to adjust a large line item can make or break you. It may be tempting to jump on the “startup” packages that a number of large firms offer for a flat fee. But really look at the numbers; often, less than half of those proposed flat fees are going to the actual work. And we believe that having an experienced business on your side for the long-term, as opposed to a short-term or project-by-project basis, will provide a lot of value.
Businesses can utilize the Auxana platform to connect with an outsourced GC who specializes in the type of business counsel they need, but also an attorney who aligns with the company’s culture, vision and objectives. Beyond simply hiring legal counsel, the companies that use Auxana have the opportunity to enlist a culturally-compatible legal partner, and this compatibility has the potential to evolve into a long-term, advantageous partnership for everyone involved. You can search the attorney database anonymously, and confidently choose the perfect legal partner for your business needs. We make it simple to find a vetted, well-suited flat-fee legal partner for businesses of every shape and size.
Speaking of business size, the truth is that most growth state companies don’t need a full-time attorney because there simply isn’t enough work to support that salary, which can easily cost over $200k per year. Especially during times of economic uncertainty, a full-time attorney often doesn’t make sense. However, businesses can benefit greatly from Auxana’s “shared services” concept, in which an attorney with expertise in your business’ distinct vertical or industry can work to support multiple companies, including yours. This “shared services” pairs well with our “flat fee legal” concept, meaning that not only does your business benefit from targeted legal expertise, but that expertise comes with an agreed-upon flat-fee structure that you’ve already budgeted for. Both your legal services and your legal fees are known in advance, preventing you from feeling like you’re left writing a blank check over to your attorney each month.
Predictable Legal also means adding a trusted advisor to your team of key players. Remember that your Auxana GC isn’t just a vetted lawyer, they’re also a valuable partner who’s working with a handful of other companies like yours. They possess an epicenter of tribal knowledge, and something that’s helped improve another clients’ operations may be impactful for yours.
As an Attorney, the OGC Model Keeps Your Earnings in Your Pocket
The overhead from many medium to large-sized law firms may cost up to 70% of the revenue that an individual attorney brings into the firm. Even in small firms, attorneys can pay $8,000 – $10,000 per month towards overhead expenses. Because of these large expenses, most traditional law firms promote self-serving billable hour requirements that put the firm before the client. These billable hour requirements incentivize flawed work ethics that don’t support the needs of growing companies. Attorneys are pushed to bill as many hours as possible, and often find it unreasonably difficult to cultivate and keep authentic relationships with their clients. This also pushes the notion that success is tied to time rather than actual value, which only further diminishes what should be a very client-centric industry.
We promote the “fractional executive” model for attorneys who are looking to potentially kick-start their solo practice, escape the golden handcuffs of many traditional law firms, or even those who just want more control and flexibility over their lives. Auxana attorneys can choose to work with multiple companies, seek various levels of engagement, see what they like, and figure out where they shine. Many of the attorneys we work with also find that it’s both exciting and fascinating to serve multiple companies consecutively, learning from each, and bringing their best practices to their book of business.
An essential mission here at Auxana is transparency, and our goal is to help solo attorneys run their practices better by utilizing our flat-fee Outsourced General Counsel model. Tracking time in minute increments is never fun for either client or attorney. “Billing time for simple conversations, listening to voicemails, and reading emails never made sense to me,” says Auxana CEO Beth Lebowitz. “Once the billable hour was gone, the attorney-client relationship became something very different to me and, I believe, my clients”.
The symbiotic relationship this creates between business and attorney helps to ensure both success and satisfaction across the board. Transparent, predictable legal promotes trust and security, while helping pull a lagging industry into modern times.
Predictable Legal Promotes Win-Win Outcomes
All of our goals align to help overlap the economic incentives between business and attorney. Auxana GCs promote the intelligent use of resources, which means the most efficient and productive solutions leading to positive outcomes for your business. Our GCs are here to share transparent ways to meet your business’ goals, turning your legal department into a growth engine rather than just another cost center.
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