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What Makes The Outside General Counsel Work Unique?


Large companies have an in-house general counsel, a lawyer, or lawyers working full-time to handle legal matters, handle litigation, negotiate complex regulatory issues, and generally keep the corporation out of trouble with the law.

By hiring an external general counsel, smaller companies from start-ups to lower middle-class companies can benefit from many of the same benefits at a lesser cost.

An outside general counsel is a lawyer and member of a legal team that a business hires to provide legal counsel on an as needed basis or to answer general legal questions without incurring the costs and administrative hassles of hiring a full-time employee.

What Is Outsourced General Counsel?

Although the post of Outsourced General Counsel can take many different shapes, at its foundation, it is a part-time position within a company’s legal department where a committed external attorney resource oversees and manages the regular legal needs of the firm. Contract preparation and negotiation, vendor and customer agreements, human resources concerns and paperwork, board of directors problems, and corporate governance are a few examples of these tasks that an outsourced general counsel may handle.

Broad Legal and Business Perspective

One of the hallmarks of an outside general counsel is their broad legal and business perspective. These professionals are not just legal experts; they are strategic advisors who understand the intricacies of business operations and the legal landscape. Their experience across various industries and legal disciplines allows them to provide comprehensive advice that encompasses the legal implications and the business impact of decisions. This broad perspective is invaluable in helping companies navigate complex challenges and opportunities.

Cost-Effective Legal Solutions

For many companies small to medium-sized enterprises, the cost of maintaining a full-time in-house legal department can be prohibitive. An outside general counsel provides a cost-effective solution, offering access to high-level legal services without the overhead associated with full-time employees. Companies can benefit from top-tier legal advice on demand, paying only for the services they need when they need them. This flexibility can significantly reduce legal expenses while ensuring the company’s legal needs get met.

Tailored Legal Services

The needs of businesses can vary dramatically depending on their size, industry, and growth. An outside general counsel tailors their services to meet these needs, providing personalized legal advice that aligns with the company’s goals and challenges. Whether it gets navigating regulatory compliance, managing contracts, or guiding strategic decisions, an outside general counsel adjusts their approach to fit the unique conditions of each client. This tailored approach ensures companies receive the most relevant and adequate legal support.

Access to a Network of Specialists

Outside general counsels often work within more extensive law firms or maintain a network of legal specialists across different areas of law. This access to a wide range of legal expertise means they can quickly bring in specialists as needed, whether for complex litigation, intellectual property issues, or international transactions. This network ensures that companies have access to the best legal minds for every situation, providing resourcefulness and expertise that would be difficult to replicate with an in-house team alone.

Proactive Risk Management

Working with a firm over time allows them-to-have a thorough understanding of its operations, culture, and strategic goals. This insight permits them to anticipate potential legal issues before they arise and advise on strategies to mitigate risk. From compliance audits to drafting robust contracts, an outside general counsel works to solve legal problems and prevent them from happening in the first place.

Objective and Independent Advice

As external advisors, outside general counsels can provide objective and independent legal advice free- from the internal biases and pressures that may affect in-house teams. This independence is crucial in ensuring that legal advice is always in the best good of the company, particularly in sensitive situations such as internal investigations or disputes between shareholders. The objectivity of an outside general counsel can help ensure that decisions are made based on solid legal and ethical grounds.

Scalability and Flexibility

The demands on a company’s legal department can fluctuate dramatically, with periods of high demand followed by quieter times. An outside general counsel offers scalability and flexibility, allowing companies to ramp up or scale down legal services as required. This adaptability is especially beneficial for companies experiencing rapid growth, facing seasonal fluctuations, or undertaking massive projects or transactions. By providing on-demand legal support, an outside general counsel ensures that companies have the legal resources they need at every stage of their development.

Long-Term Partnership and Commitment

Despite not being employees, outside general counsels often develop long-term partnerships with their clients, gaining a deep understanding of the business and becoming an integral part of the team. This commitment allows them to provide legal advice and strategic guidance aligned with the company’s long-term goals and values. The relationship between a company and its outside general counsel get built on trust, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to the company’s success.