3 Benefits of Working with a Business Attorney as the Outside General Counsel for Your Business
When you’re first starting a small business, it’s understandable to want to keep your operations as simple as possible. But even a small business needs to think about how to protect itself. Hiring an internal lawyer doesn’t make sense until your company is large. However, here’s a happy medium that small and mid-sized businesses should consider: an outside business attorney to act as the Outside General Counsel for the business.
What is a Business Attorney?
A business lawyer, or attorney, is hired by companies for guidance regarding business issues such as contracts and documents, and operation issues. This attorney is someone you can contact each time you have a legal question, have contracts for him/her to review, etc.
This type of arrangement is more affordable for a small company because you may only need a few hours per week (or less) of the attorney’s time. By establishing a relationship with a business attorney, you have someone available when you need them, but you only pay for the hours you actually need.
So why do you actually need a lawyer to be available on a regular basis? Here are some advantages to consider:
Benefits of Hiring a Business Attorney as an Outside General Counsel
While a business attorney is an added expense, it could save you money in the long run. Here’s why it may be a good idea:
To Advise on Issues You Don’t Know You Have
When you first hire a business attorney, it’s a good idea to have him/her review certain aspects of your operations. This can include standard client contracts, company documents, employee contracts, human resource policies, website content, etc.
A business attorney is specifically experienced in educating and protecting your business from lawsuits and from being taken advantage of by others. Your contracts and policies may be leaving you vulnerable to legal problems.
To Prevent Issues Before They Arise
Too many businesses wait until they’re being sued or they want to sue someone before they hire an attorney. When a lawsuit is imminent, you can generally expect to have a massive bill ahead for legal fees whether you’re the plaintiff (filing the lawsuit) or the defendant (defending against the lawsuit).
In this way, it actually saves you money to consult an attorney beforehand because you can prevent a lawsuit before it becomes necessary.
Ability to Step in for Fast Action
Let’s say your business is being sued, and you don’t already have a general counsel, so you need to hire one.
First, you need to embark on the process of finding the right lawyer. He/she should be familiar with your industry and with the type of lawsuit ahead of you. You also need to find someone you genuinely trust and whose credentials you can verify. This can take weeks.
After you find the right lawyer, he/she needs to get up to speed on your company and your legal situation. This can be very time-consuming, which means it can be expensive. However, if you have a business attorney available as a general counsel, you skip the searching time and the time for him/her to learn about your business. This lets you jump in and hopefully settle the lawsuit sooner, and it also saves you money in the long run.
Hiring a Business Attorney for Your Company
Whether you’re a small or mid-sized company, you aren’t immune from legal hiccups. Hiring a business attorney as your outside general counsel can help you prevent these problems or settle them more smoothly if they do arise.
To hire our experienced business attorneys or if you have other questions, contact our law firm, call Lisa Wills, Law Offices of Lisa Wills at (925) 463-9000.