The modern business environment is volatile, and for your organization to survive the vicissitudes, you need the best talent in your team. In any organization, there is a need for legal expertise to maneuver complex legal situations. While an in-house lawyer can offer legal counsel, it’s also important to bring in objective external legal expertise in the form of an outside counsel.
A general counsel (GC) comes in handy in multiple legal situations, and with these legal experts on your team, your organization can overcome myriad challenges. An outside lawyer leads corporate strategic and tactical legal initiatives. The best GC is a blend of in-depth legal and corporate knowledge, experience, business savvy, and responsiveness.
If you’re looking for opportunities to unlock the full potential of your organization, it’s time to bring in a highly qualified outside lawyer. Before you make this decision, it’s important to understand what role this legal expert will play in your organization.
Roles of a General Counsel
To appreciate the importance of recruiting an outside lawyer into the organization, consider the breadth of legal services they offer. Let’s take a look:
- Legal compliance: These legal professionals assure that the company is acting within the law.
- Help with reputation management: Your GC will give a legal view on reputational issues and how best to resolve them.
- General legal advice: They provide advice on the legal environment and legal responsibilities including planning transactions or taking other business initiatives. They also help define and develop corporate policies, procedures, and programs. Your outside attorney offers continuing legal counsel and guidance on all matters and legal implications of all organizational activities.
- Helping with lawsuits: A GC will judge the merits of any court cases filed against or on behalf of the company. They help develop a defense strategy and help with dispute settlements.
- Coordinating legal policies in every aspect of the business including production, design, marketing, credit, finance, human resources, sales, distribution, and corporate governance among other areas.
With a competent GC in the team, your organization avoids legal landmines that could ruin its reputation or threaten its existence. Many organizations that have collapsed could have survived if they had brought in an objective legal perspective of an outside lawyer.
Choosing the Right General Counsel for Your Business
To leverage the legal expertise of an outside lawyer in your organization, you need to consider the following when hiring:
- Experience: Go for a lawyer with several years of legal experience to guarantee the best legal guidance for your organization.
- Credentials: A reputable GC will share their credentials with a potential client including training, certifications, and membership to legal and other relevant organizations.
- Legal expertise: Look for a lawyer who has dealt with legal issues affecting your organization. If they have worked in your industry before, it’s easier to provide a qualified legal opinion on arising legal issues.
- Ongoing support: Always work with a lawyer who is readily available. You should agree on the terms of engagement to ensure your GC focuses on your organization and is available at any time.
- Resources: Find a legal counsel who has prerequisite resources to handle your organization’s legal needs. A law firm is the best option because they have the financial muscle and personnel to handle any legal issues.
- Clear work plan: Before recruiting a general counsel into the organization, take time to understand their working strategy. If possible, ask for referrals to confirm if their approach can work in your unique situation.
- Fee structuring: It’s important to discuss the legal fees in the initial interviews. A reputable lawyer will discuss their fees and give a clear structure on the payment structure. Before signing an agreement, you should understand the payment mode and an estimate of the costs annually.
- Referrals and recommendations: Talk to other organizations in your industry and find recommendations of the best legal expert to use in your city.
- Reputation: Do a background search of any lawyer you want to hire to guarantee there are no complaints about their ethical conduct or any other professional issues.
If your organization constantly finds itself stymied by legal hurdles, it’s time to bring in a highly experienced outside counsel. This legal expert helps protect your business, the employees, and your legacy. By providing ongoing legal guidance, a GC plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance and helping avert legal issues that could debilitate the operations of your organization or even threaten its future.