• Reasons for General Counsel

5 Reasons You Need General Counsel Now

by Noel Bagwell
for ExecutiveLP

January 27, 2016

To learn more about the multifaceted role General Counsel plays in a company, click here. To read more about the advantages of General Counsel, including the tax deductibility of G.C. services, click here. For specific information about Signet™ General Counsel legal services from ExecutiveLP™, click here

Entrepreneurs and businesses cannot achieve long-term success without building teams. While some essential teams are internal to an organization, vital teams also exist outside the organization, especially when using an outside service provider is more cost-effective and efficient than expanding overhead. Smart entrepreneurs and business decision-makers find ways to build teams both inside and outside their company to provide them with essential services upon which their long-term success depends.

Every single entrepreneur and business needs General Counsel, and here are five reasons why you need General Counsel, now.

Related: General Counsel: Necessary Even In The Absence of Lawsuits 

1. Know what you don’t know.

Prospective clients are often have a difficult time knowing or expressing what their legal needs are. When a topic, like how the law relates to your business, is complex or time-consuming, action-oriented people tend to set aside analysis in favor of action, trusting their luck to avoid misfortune; this is especially true when one’s luck has not failed him them in the past. At some point, though, your luck will run out.

Part of a General Counsel attorney’s responsibility to their client is to provide strategic legal counsel to decision-makers while clearly explaining topics that would otherwise be esoteric and wearisome. You cannot know what you do not know, but your General Counsel can at least point out where your knowledge falls short, and illuminate legal issues which would otherwise be obscured, like icebergs waiting to sink your Titanic. Because you never know when such issues might arise, it is unwise to wait until you have struck an iceberg to post a lookout.

2. General Counsel attorneys add real value.

Ask yourself this question: “Why would companies hire attorneys if the attorneys didn’t add value to the company that is greater than the value of the attorneys’ compensation?” The foundation of all trade is mutual gain. Both a company and an attorney gain from the economic activity between them, or otherwise their exchange would not occur. Moreover, the hiring of the attorney by the company will increase the wealth of both parties.

Businesses exist in order to make a profit. If attorneys did not produce results that improved the profitability of the businesses that hired them, businesses wouldn’t hire them. However, not only do businesses regularly hire attorneys, they hire entire legal departments and they hire General Counsel attorneys to direct those legal departments. This happens, because smart entrepreneurs and business decision-makers understand that General Counsel attorneys confer benefits and add real value to the businesses they serve–value greater than the price paid for their services.

3. You can see a big picture, even through a small window.

Cost is often a concern for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs considering whether to hire a General Counsel attorney. One way to get an idea of the value you’re likely to receive from a General Counsel attorney is to hire them for a smaller job. You can probably think of at least one relatively small legal project with which an attorney could help you. Start with that one, and see where the relationship goes.

Once you have had an opportunity to test the waters with a relatively small project, you will have a better sense of whether an attorney would be someone with whom you will want to work on a long-term basis. For example, my firm, ExecutiveLP™, offers a variety of incidental services and even offers General Counsel legal service plans on short, quarterly renewable terms. This allows prospective clients to try out our services on a small scale or for a short period of time before making a big commitment.

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4. The Titanic was “unsinkable.” It’s at the bottom of the ocean.

“The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew, and leave us nothing but grief and pain.” – Robert Burns

I have long believed what really sank the Titanic was not an iceberg, but hubris. Because the ship was “unsinkable,” inadequate care was taken to prevent the very disaster that caused it to sink. So, too, can avoidable disasters befall businesses and entrepreneurs who push forward, full steam ahead, without adequate consideration for hidden risks.

Perhaps you choose not to use an employment contract, and an employee does something to create a liability for your business. Perhaps you choose not to use a written agreement for a large sale or other transaction, and end up in a dispute without a way to prove what the terms of your oral agreement were. Perhaps you venture into uncertain business territory and run afoul of a regulation you didn’t even know existed. The government will not let you plead ignorance as a defense. In all these circumstances and more, a good lawyer can aid your cause, but it’s a lot less expensive when you hire the lawyer before your legal risks become expensive legal problems.

5. Why? A better question is, “Why not?”

The only reason to avoid hiring a General Counsel attorney is because you believe the cost is greater than the benefit. I have mentioned several reasons and included, in this article, links to resources with more reasons, why General Counsel can be of benefit to your business. At some point, however, you’ll have to decide for yourself what your primary concern is.

For most people, their avoidance comes down to lawyers doing three things badly: being accessible, being accountable, and being affordable. With a variety of flexible contract and payment terms and an ongoing commitment to affordability, ExecutiveLP™ has made a concerted effort to overcome any objection, on the grounds of affordability, a prospective client might have to hiring our firm to provide legal services. ExecutiveLP™ also provides clients with direct access to their attorneys, without gatekeepers; plus, our firm ensures clients are always in control of their final bill and have a firm, clear, written agreement between attorney and client to ensure all parties know and can effectively, efficiently work together to achieve the intended result of the representation.

When a firm has put so much thought and effort into maintaining such high standards for client satisfaction, when the firm offers legal services every business needs, and when those services are offered according to affordable terms, a reasonable person, instead of asking, “Why should I hire a General Counsel attorney,” might ask, “Why haven’t I already hired General Counsel to protect my business?!”

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