There are many benefits for businesses if you hire outside general counsel, including what we reviewed in the first two articles of this series about efficiencies and broader perspective. In this third article, we explore the cost effectiveness of hiring outside general counsel.
Even if it may seem that your company’s legal matters are always growing in number and variety, your business still may not need a full-time attorney. Experienced attorneys demand high salaries and benefits. A lawyer with at least eight (8) years of experience would typically demand a salary in excess of $150,000/year, plus benefits. With outside general counsel, you need not pay the salary of an attorney and instead you can pay only for the services performed on each specific matter. Although most law firms will still charge on an hourly basis, if the volume of the work is significant and consistent, it is often possible to negotiate a fixed retainer or fee for the recurring work performed by outside counsel. These fees likely will be less than the salary of a full-time in-house attorney.
Further, even if your legal needs are sufficient to justify a dedicated full-time attorney, you will most likely still need specialized attorneys for areas that require specific expertise. Those needs usually cannot be met by hiring, for example, a corporate, who will probably lack the expertise to also handle specialized matters, such as employment and labor law, employee benefits, tax, or litigation. Utilizing a business law firm as outside general counsel will usually give you access to all of these specialized areas of law. Most law firms will still provide you with a single point of contact at the firm (perhaps the corporate or transactional lawyer you deal with most often), who can direct you to other attorneys in the firm who have the practice specialization you need for a particular matter. This will help streamline the delivery of legal services, by requiring focus on the specific legal issue at hand at the right time, which will further control legal costs.
For more benefits of hiring outside general counsel, check out the other installments in this series:
Part 1: Efficiencies
Part 2: Broader Perspective
If you have questions hiring outside counsel for your business, please contact Mariel Giletto at the contact information below.
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