Outsourced general counsel is an innovative risk management approach for small businesses. I find many small businesses have day-to-day legal issues that go unmet. The company is simply not big enough to hire an in-house counsel and outside counsel is too expensive. Each legal issue is important and can impact the company’s bottom line. However, It may not be enough to justify hiring an attorney and paying a standard expensive retainer and hourly rate. Non-lawyers in the small business may be attempting to resolve their legal questions via google or simply guessing.
I may be a great fit to serve those companies as outsourced general counsel. Our arrangement could be as little as a few hours a month or as much as several days per month. For example, we may focus on the following legal needs:
- Management and retention of employees; (1)
- Insurance coverages and risk allocation strategies; (2)
- Review and update employment agreements and employee handbooks; (3)
- Manage contracts and update service agreements with partners and suppliers; (4)
- Review and potentially renegotiate leases and other key contracts; (5)
- Litigation Management; (6) and
- Negotiating your account receivables with demand letters, settlement offers, and potentially filing lawsuits. (7)
Cost of In-House v. Outsourced General Counsel
A qualified and experienced full-time in-house attorney could cost you a salary of $100,000 – $200,000 or more per year. This senior management position makes sense for larger companies with complex and diverse legal needs. It may or may not be a sound business decision for small companies with revenues in the six or seven figures. My virtual law practice provides flexibility to deliver effective outsourced general counsel and cost savings without the traditional markup for overhead and marketing required by the largest law firms. I structure fees and manage client relationships in a flexible manner depending on the individual needs of each company.
Ongoing management of key legal issues is vital to reducing risk. A small business benefits from having multiple, ongoing conversations with counsel knowledgeable about their risks. I have offered a 50% reduction for the first 10 hours of assistance per month. Those 30 minute weekly phone calls often drastically improve decision-making.
I offer a flat free structure for legal opinions on specific or novel legal questions. I was recently contacted to provide legal analysis on whether a loan program targeted to small construction companies gave rise to liability under Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws. We evaluated how the business may re-structure the program to decrease potential exposure. This one-off legal opinion was perfect for a flat-fee structure.
I am also open to discussing any creative and mutually-beneficial alternative fee arrangements you may have. Contact me to discuss how obtaining outsourced general counsel services could help you run your small business more successfully.
Companies with In-House Counsel
Consider contacting me when your in-house counsel is temporarily stretched too thin because of big projects, growth, ongoing litigation, or have particular needs in Wisconsin or Louisiana. I am available to handle overflow work or perform one-off projects on an as-needed basis, and at a fraction of the costs of most hourly law firm rates. My extensive experience litigating claims on behalf of insurance companies in state court, federal court, workers’ compensation court, and small claims courts can be helpful to you. I can add value to your in-house team and can be on-call when the need arises.
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(6) Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act: When Marketing Promises Go Too Far; My Business Competitor’s Advertising is a Lie… The Lanham Act and Wisconsin Unfair Competition Laws; Litigation is complicated and confusing!