Outsourced General Counsel – the virtual, cost-effective legal solution for your business
By: Mark Spitz, Business Attorney
and Auxana member
Every business has legal issues – regardless of size or field. But not every business needs full-time in-house legal counsel. When it comes to emerging companies and startups, outsourced general counsel (“OGC”) is usually a more cost-effective and efficient legal solution.
Whether you need help drafting contracts, defending litigation, or leasing real estate, an OGC can help you without the high hourly rates of a big firm. One of the unique benefits of hiring an OGC is that you can hire the best of the best from around the country to support your business’s legal needs.
Where Do Outsourced General Counsel Attorneys Come From?
Outsourced (or “Fractional”) general counsel attorneys have usually practiced for years as in-house counsel for corporations before branching off, making them experienced in the day-to-day needs of growing companies. After working with one company at a time, these in-house attorneys often want to help more businesses by taking on a number of diverse clients. Their practice involves understanding each client’s legal needs as a whole while considering the business’s structure, growth plan, and liabilities.
How is Outsourced General Counsel Different Than a Traditional Firm?
The comprehensive legal solution that OGCs offer is what sets them apart from big firms. Most attorneys choose a very specialized field of law and practice in that area for decades. To create a comprehensive solution for your business, you’d need to work with multiple attorneys (each with their own hourly rate). An OGC solo practitioner has a lower overhead cost and greater level of personal attention that small businesses and startups on a growth path need.
Fractional general counsel attorneys take all the knowledge they’ve acquired from working with a variety of companies and bring it to your emerging business. Equipped with legal experience and business knowledge, an OGC can help you in a different way than traditional attorneys. They work with you on a regular basis, typically on a flat fee or retainer structure, operating as a sort of business advisor, or part of your executive team. By utilizing a fixed fee structure, you know what you’re paying upfront and now have the ability to budget for it, leading to predictable legal spend.
The Innovation of Outsourced General Counsel
With the quick transition to virtual business relationships, outsourced general counsel attorneys are a step ahead of the legal community. They know how to work in a virtual capacity because they aren’t a full-time employee of yours and they work with several businesses. For businesses, this also means you are able to retain counsel as a part of your leadership team without the overhead of hard employment costs.
The innovative business arrangement that comes with hiring outsourced general counsel allows them to be located outside of your city, county, and even your state in many cases. If they have experience as in-house counsel for a larger company, they’re familiar with businesses that operate in multiple states and many are licensed in several states. American Bar Association Model Rule 5.5 allows attorneys to deal with out-of-state legal issues on a temporary basis that “…are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.” And while each state has its own version of this rule, most allow out-of-state attorneys to practice under certain conditions.
Questions to Ask When Hiring Outsourced General Counsel
- Which industries do you have experience with?
- What size companies do you typically take on as clients?
- How do you bill (monthly, flat fee, retainer)?
- In which states are you licensed to practice law?
- What experience do you have with [insert your immediate needs and expected future needs]?
- How can you help our growing business?
You should feel 100% confident in your OGC’s ability to solve your company’s legal needs now and in the future as you continue to grow.
As an outsourced general counsel attorney with over 25 years of experience advising companies on a variety of legal issues (including 15 years as in-house & general counsel), I can assure you that having a scalable legal solution will help you and your executive team focus on what you do best while being proactive with the legal work that needs to be done. Contact us to see how we can help your growing business.
About the Author: Mark Spitz is a business attorney based in Denver, Colorado. He has over 25 years of experience advising companies on a wide variety of legal issues, including 15 years as in-house counsel and general counsel. Mark works with startups and entrepreneurs as well as established companies to help them manage legal risks and costs.
DISCLAIMER: This blog does not contain or constitute legal advice and we are not a law firm nor will we provide legal advice. Auxana Inc. is not a law firm, does not provide any legal services, any legal advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, or any lawyer referral services, and does not provide or participate in any legal representation.