Today, businesses are facing increased legal, regulatory, and compliance issues. Even a small business must deal with regulations that might not have been in place ten years ago. And many companies today are young, with more startups and ventures flooding the market than ever before.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners used to hire in-house counsel, but today hiring an attorney solely for your company’s use does not always make financial sense. Instead, many owners attempt to do their legal entity formations, litigation, and even regulatory compliance themselves — until they find that they are in over their heads.
If you are one such business owner, there is an excellent alternative to taking on the costs of in-house counsel while avoiding the pitfalls of self-managing your legal obligations. Hiring outside general counsel can be incredibly beneficial to your business — and your sanity.
The 5 Benefits of Hiring Outside General Counsel
There are a variety of advantages to hiring outside counsel, with just a few including:
1. Hiring outside counsel is cheaper than hiring an employee. By hiring outside general counsel, you save your business the costs of recruiting, paying a full-time lawyer’s salary in-house, and providing benefits that come with a full-time employee. You only pay for the time you need with your attorney, which ends up costing much less than hiring someone in-house.
2. There is no long-term commitment with outside counsel. When you hire in-house general counsel, you have the convenience of having an attorney that is there to consult with whenever you need them. However, you also take on a long-term commitment, oftentimes complete with employment contracts that involve paying costly fees if you wish to terminate the contract early. With outside counsel, you have the option of testing their services to see if they are a good fit — and moving on to another firm if you are not comfortable with your first choice.
3. Your counsel helps you setup and maintain your business. When you start a business, do you know which formation would protect your investment the best? Which establishment will help limit your tax burden? Which is best if you are going to work with subcontractors? These are questions an attorney can answer. While your counsel might be outside and not an employee, they can still help you maintain your business and keep up with regulatory compliance programs — making them a valuable investment.
4. You gain an outside perspective. Another significant benefit is that you now have an external view of your business. Outside counsel is not an internal branch of your business; therefore, they can offer you objective, but knowledgeable opinions. This third-party perspective can be especially valuable, as being too close to the issue can often result in emotions that get in the way of good, solid business decisions.
5. Your outside general counsel can still get to know your business. Do not assume that because your attorney is not an employee that he or she could not understand the nuances of your business. Quite the contrary. High quality outside counsel will take the time to get to know your business so that they can guide you well. This enables you to reap the benefits in-house counsel, without the burden of a full-time employee.
There is no harm in speaking with a business attorney to see how they can improve your operation. In fact, sitting down for a no-obligation consultation with a business attorney helps you explore your options, identify where you might be in non-compliance of any relevant regulation — and see if outside general counsel is the right fit for you.