[UPDATED] 10 Benefits of a Fractional General Counsel and Why You Want One

If you own a business, legal fees are an oft-forgotten, or grudgingly-added line item on the budget. Ironically, those business people who budget for legal expenses often get more value than those who don’t because of their taking a proactive approach to legal issues. 

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For these savvy business people, a well-drafted contract or half-hour phone call with a competent business attorney who is knowledgeable about their business can save them from getting into legal troubles and incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation expenses. 

As a Maryland business attorney, I ask my business clients these questions in order to determine whether a fractional general counsel is right for them:

  1. Do you spend your time chasing legal concerns instead of focusing on your daily operations and growing your business?

  2.  Is hiring a full-time attorney too costly for your company?

  3.  Are you concerned that you do not comply with all legal requirements of your business?

  4.  Is it difficult to receive the legal advice you need when you need it?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might need the services of a fractional general counsel for your business. Before you hire an in-house attorney, or you continue to seek the advice of an attorney on an add-needed or emergency basis, let’s look at the benefits of hiring a fractional general counsel.

What is a Fractional General Counsel?

Sometimes, individuals confuse a fractional general counsel with in-house counsel because they receive many of the same services from a fractional general counsel as they do from in-house counsel, but the attorney is not an employee of the business nor does the attorney work full time for the company. A fractional general counsel is a part-time attorney who provides on-going legal services for your company at a flat-rate or fixed pricing structure.

The attorney or law firm has other clients, but you receive a specific number of hours each month of dedicated service to your company. For a set fee, you have access to the attorney for legal emergency or general legal advice. If you need additional services beyond the set number of hours per month, you typically pay an agreed-upon hourly rate or set fee for specific services. 

Because each company is unique, it is impossible to say for certain whether a company needs a full-time attorney as an employee or whether a fractional general counsel is sufficient. The need for a full-time attorney is based on the industry and your specific circumstances. 

However, the benefits of receiving legal advice are the same across all industries. An attorney helps you deal with legal problems in addition to avoiding legal problems by ensuring your company complies with all federal and state laws.

What are the  Benefits of a Fractional General Counsel?

Some benefits of retaining a fractional general counsel for your business include:

  1. Personalized legal services at an affordable price. The availability of an attorney who knows and understands you and your business with whom you have an established relationship.

  2. A set fee for a fractional general counsel allows you to budget for a professional’s services more accurately. 

  3. Ongoing legal advice and review to ensure compliance with various federal, state, and local laws.

  4. Allows a small business that can’t afford to hire in-house counsel access to continuous ongoing legal services.

  5. Potential to receive discounted legal services by negotiating a billing rate based on a long-term commitment.

  6. Freedom and ability to focus on day-to-day operations and growth instead of worrying about compliance and legal matters.

  7. Timely access to an attorney when needed for answers to pressing questions.

  8. Ability to hire a law firm that can cover several legal areas including matters related to government compliance, employment law, benefits, financial matters, litigation, contract management, regulatory reviews, licensing, and employee benefits.

  9. Flexibility to customize an agreement you can afford and that meets your needs for legal counsel.

  10. Eliminate the costs of hiring a full-time attorney.

One of the best benefits of hiring a fractional general counsel is that you are taking a proactive approach to risk management rather than a reactive approach. Instead of reacting to legal problems, you are working with an attorney to prevent or mitigate future liability. Regardless of the size of a company, a reactive approach to dealing with legal matters and compliance issues increases the risk of future liability. A proactive approach can reduce the time and cost of dealing with legal matters. 

Fractional General Counsel Services Can Save You $$$

Besides saving money and reducing the risk of future liability, hiring a fractional general counsel means you are adding an attorney to your team. The attorney may be a part-time member of your team, but that does not mean that the lawyer is not an integral part of your team. With dedicated meetings each month, you, your management team, and your lawyer can develop strategies to improve and grow your business and save you from costly litigation.

Do Flat-Rate Legal Services Sound Appealing?

If you’re interested in learning more about my factional general counsel services, give me a call today. I’d love to share with you my strategies for keeping your business running in top shape.