An option many business owners find more reassuring is working with a legal firm which specializes in outside counsel.
Today, startups are flooding the market and many are not aware of legal implications that can land them in trouble. In-house general counsel could help them in legal, regulatory, and compliance issues, but hiring in-house counsel is expensive and out of the reach of many startups. Thus, many business owners tend to manage legal obligations on their own – eating up valuable time and resulting in improper handling of issues.
Hiring outside general counsel can help business owners avoid the hassle of managing the legal issues and conserve time for other crucial activities of the business.
In this blog, we will discuss the skills required and the primary roles of outside counsel and top things that you should look for when hiring outside general counsel.
Where to Hire an Outside General Counsel
There are two possible avenues to hiring outside general counsel: independent contractors and outside counsel law firms.
Independent contractors might work part-time relying on the resources provided by the client or might set up an office in the company itself. In either case, these contractors are not employees of the company. A primary challenge with independent outside counsel contractors is to find those who are competent to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. Evaluating competency in these roles is difficult as it is often outside the expertise of those doing the hiring.
Outside Counsel Law Firm
An option many business owners find more reassuring is working with a legal firm which specializes in outside counsel. While this option may seem more expensive on the surface, the level of service, resources, and competency is generally higher and more reliable.
What to Look for from Outside Counsel
Outside counsel should be knowledgeable about the specific area of legal issue, have experience in applicable laws, and also have strong research skills. They must be competent enough to deal with issues in progress and have the ability to spot further issues before they arise. For the benefit of every party involved, they should also know how to communicate legal matters effectively.
Outside counsel should be competent in some or all of the following legal areas:
All businesses are subject to regulatory compliance, the outside general counsel you choose must be adept at dealing with issues arising out of non-compliance. The volatile industries that run the risk of regulatory non-compliance include manufacturing, the production or sale of chemicals or explosives, financial or consumer information, lending money, or securities.
All companies are required to comply with state and federal corporate governance rules and regulations. State law may require you to comply with the annual filings, disclosures, meetings record keeping, etc.
On the other hand, federal corporate governance would require public disclosures based upon the tax and public status of the company. The outside general counsel must know about corporate governance as they will advise you throughout the processes to ensure compliance.
The outside counsel you choose to work with must be experts at dealing with employment laws that every company with employees must obey. Employment law concerns issues such as rights disclosures, workplace hazards, discriminatory hiring practices, employee termination, compensation, and further relevant regulations.
If you run a business that deals with customer or client information, the outside general counsel you work with should be an expert at dealing with issues arising out of consumer privacy. They must have in-depth knowledge of consumer privacy laws.
Advertising and Intellectual Property
Every company advertises its products or services on various marketing platforms. The outside general counsel must be an expert at dealing with issues arising out of state and federal consumer protection and privacy laws.
Companies that create or own intellectual property rights are required to secure, maintain and protect those rights. Here, outside general counsel is required to assist you in this protection process.
Finding competent outside general counsel is challenging and important. Above were a few crucial skills you should look for when hiring outside general counsel for your business. Bookmark this blog and refer back to it when you are choosing which outside general counsel is right for your business.