5 reasons to consider outside general legal counsel

Businesses have many options when it comes to hiring legal counsel. It’s a big decision. Your attorney can be an invaluable ally who helps shape the success of your business.

For many small to midsized businesses, enlisting outside general counsel is a wise business decision. Why should you consider going this route?

1. It’s more cost-effective.
It might not make financial sense to hire in-house counsel once you factor in costs such as payroll, benefits, and support staff. Outside general counsel can serve the same purpose, but in a much more cost-effective manner. Likewise, outside counsel is more cost-effective than hiring ad hoc legal representation for discrete issues or projects, especially considering outside counsel’s built-in familiarity with the nuances of your business or legal problem.

2. It’s more proactive.
Waiting until a pressing legal problem erupts can leave you scrambling for trusted legal guidance. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Using legal counsel to take a proactive approach can go a long way toward avoiding litigation and other costly legal problems.

3. Your attorney will understand your business.
There’s immense value to having a lawyer who truly knows your industry and your business–its history, vision, risks, struggles and priorities. With ad hoc legal representation, you don’t get that level of familiarity.

4. You’ll have a go-to for any legal questions that arise.
Starting a business raises a host of legal questions and decisions–but they don’t stop there. Just as you wouldn’t hesitate to hire a lawyer when forming a new business entity, it’s wise to have one “on call” for the countless legal issues that can arise at every stage of the business life cycle.

5. You don’t have to worry about getting caught off guard.
A central function of in-house counsel is to stay on top of regulatory changes, new case law, and other legal developments in your industry. Outside counsel can serve the same function; often with the added advantage of being backed by a firm of professionals eager to share their own recent legal research or developments.