In-house lawyers play a vital role in business by providing guidance in legal as well as commercial matters. However, it is difficult for small companies or startups to hire general counsel lawyers because of their high compensation. A solution to their problem lies in the form of outsourced general counsel services. Employing an outside professional will help in getting comprehensive assistance at reasonable prices. This will help companies in running their operations smoothly without feeling the pinch of high costs. Businesses can frame effective strategies for managing their finances and legal requirements with the help of attorneys. In this article, we are presenting some useful information which will help companies hire efficient outside lawyers.
What Kind Of Services Can Businesses Outsource?
It is necessary to understand that not all legal matters of a corporation can be handled by external professionals. They can be trusted with the following duties:
1. Litigation-related Work
A major responsibility of all in-house counsel is to handle all litigation for the company. In case, they do not possess expertise in a practice area, a specialist is hired who works with them. This job can be performed by external attorneys also. Enterprises can outsource their litigation-related work to firms which provide general counsel services.
2. Drafting Agreements And Contracts
Businesses require documented agreements to formalize their arrangements with a variety of entities. They need contracts for hiring employees, starting partnerships, registering vendors, and a host of other commercial relationships. Corporations can identify their requirements and hire outside professionals to draft the necessary contracts and other agreements.
3. Conducting Legal Research
Companies need attorneys not only for legal matters but also for financial planning. In-house lawyers conduct research to identify laws which can affect the business and analyze their impact. They also do case studies to find out if any earlier judgment can have a bearing on an issue their employer is involved in. This task can be easily managed by external counsel.
4. Documentation And Other Administrative Work
Outside lawyers can be engaged for creating and reviewing documents as well as legal transcription. They can also handle issues related to claims filed by the company for recovering dues.
What Are The Areas A General Counsel Must Know About?
The general counsel is a business’ principal legal advisor. Such professionals must possess knowledge of all laws that can be applied to commercial organizations. However, it is virtually impossible to find a lawyer who is an expert in all practice areas. Good counsel will be knowledgeable about the following areas:
1. Regulatory Compliance
Every aspect of a business is governed by one or more legal regulations. In fact, most businesses approach lawyers to get assistance in adhering to regulatory compliances. The number of laws that can be applied to a company is dictated by a number of factors like the nature of its operations, its employee strength etc. All general attorneys must have extensive knowledge about regulatory compliance.
2. Employment Laws
Another area in which corporations require extensive legal assistance is employment law. It is essential for firms to know the correct manner of hiring and dismissing workers. They must also know about the laws related to compensation, benefits, working conditions, and other aspects. Companies looking for outsourced general counsel services must check the competence of professionals in this area before making a selection.
3. Privacy Laws
All major jurisdictions in the world have enforced laws to protect the sensitive personal information of their citizens. Modern enterprises access personal customer data for their marketing or product design strategies. According to privacy laws, they are liable for the protection of such information. In-house attorneys must know about such regulations.
4. Advertising Guidelines
The advertising or other promotional campaigns must follow the prescribed guidelines. Any violation of these rules attracts penalties besides harming the reputation. Business lawyers must be aware of all such directives.
5. Corporate Governance
All efficient organizations have their own set of rules, procedures, and practices for managing their activities. The outside counsel must know about applicable laws as well as the best practices to help the company establish an effective governance structure.
6. Intellectual Property
Intellectual property protection is vital not only for enterprises involved in the creation of such assets but for all businesses. Companies need to protect their trademarks, logos and other assets with appropriate licenses. All in-house or external lawyers must know about IP laws.
What Are The Duties Of Outside General Counsel?
The duties of outside counsel depend on the nature of the business and the scale of the operations of the organization hiring them. However, their duties can be broadly classified into the following three categories:
As mentioned earlier, the main role of an external lawyer is that of the chief legal advisor of the organization. The company depends on them for nipping potential legal issues in the bud and helping the workforce in keeping on the right side of the law.
The general counsel is an enterprise’s representative not only in legal courts but also when dealing with other parties. The attorney may be required to negotiate with lawyers of potential business partners, vendors, customers, or rivals.
3. General Service Provider
Outside professionals are needed for a range of other services like drafting contracts, managing claims, replying to notices, and framing governance rules.
Small businesses and startups must consider outsourced general counsel services to manage their in-house legal matters. Professional agencies in large economies like the top law firms in India provide such specialist services. Entrepreneurs must engage such firms to get assistance in the matter.