The Benefits of Using Outside Counsel as General Counsel for Small Businesses
When you began your business, you might have done so without much legal help. You might have relied on your own research to choose a business entity and form it, or at this point you may still be a sole proprietor. However, if your venture has been successful and grown in recent years, you may find your legal knowledge, research capabilities, and time too limited to do everything yourself. There comes a time when a small business needs more consistent and experienced legal help from general counsel.
Defining General Counsel
A general counsel is a lawyer who is an employee of a business. He or she not only provides the business with legal knowledge, experience, and advice, but also makes day-to-day decisions for the company. General counsel is an attorney for the company, not for the business’s owners, officers, or employees.
An outside general counsel is an attorney who provides the same services but is not an employee of the business. As a small-business owner, you can put outside general counsel on retainer, ensuring your lawyer is available whenever you need, or pay for each matter as one comes up.
Why You May Need General Counsel
There are numerous benefits of having consistent legal advice for your small business, including assistance with:
- Choice of legal entity and business formation if you are still operating as a solo practitioner
- Obtaining and structuring financing as your business grows
- Reviewing and negotiating your commercial leases or other real estate matters
- Determining whether your business provides a service or product that is regulated by additional state or federal laws
- Accessing regulatory risks and offering potential solutions to mitigate those risks
- Negotiating and drafting employment and independent contractor agreements for workers at all levels of your business
- Developing human resources policies to ensure your workplace complies with state and federal law
- Performing corporate records maintenance
- Negotiating and drafting contracts for other areas of your business
The Benefits of an Outside General Counsel
Your small business may not be ready for a full-time, in-house general counsel. This may be outside of your small business’s budget. After all, an experienced attorney can command a high salary. You may also not need 40 hours of legal advice and work per week yet. A full-time in-house legal advisor would simply be bored. In this situation, it may benefit you to hire an outside general counsel.
The benefits of hiring an outside business attorney as your general counsel mean you obtain all of the help described above while remaining within your budget. You can work with an experienced business attorney on matters as they arise, discussing flat fees, hourly wages, or other fee structures on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, by working with the same business attorney overtime, you have a lawyer who gets to know the nuances of your business and can offer more specialized and experienced advice.
Contact Our Business Attorneys Today
If you run a small business in West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, or Boca Raton, contact the experienced business attorneys of the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. at 561-571-8970. We are eager to help you today.