CORPORATE COUNSEL – Does My Business need In-House Counsel?
March 07, 2019
A vast majority of our practice is focused on corporate counsel, transactional representation and commercial litigation. After years of serving such clientele on a regular basis, we are often asked when is it a good time to invest in in-house counsel, or alternatively keep outside counsel on retainer? Like many answers in life there is no “one-size fits all”. This is a decision each business must determine and evaluate for itself; however, there are a few major factors to consider when making your decision.
If agreements are regularly being executed with third parties, counsel should be on retainer prior to signing. Securing effective legal representation for contract negotiations is essential for any business. Prior to the execution a business must understand the meaning of boilerplate clauses included in such agreements, the implications of certain terms and conditions and most importantly be well informed as to the entity’s obligations under such contracts and the repercussions for breaching such obligations.
A company that needs such services from project to project can be a strong indication to have in-house counsel or alternatively have a regular outside counsel who is well versed in the day-to-day business of the entity.
When a business begins to expand and bring on more employees, there is a greater need for legal counsel to address employee management. When managing employees a business must consider: employment regulations, workplace posters, labor codes, manuals, legal trainings etc…. If appropriate polices are not in place for the duration of an employee’s tenure, the business is susceptible to legal liability.
Additionally if a business is entering a stage where they are expanding not only in their labor force but adding a second location or franchising out, working with in-house counsel to include favorable terms when negotiating a lease or franchising out, is a strategic approach that can result in higher profit margins and minimize legal disputes in the future.
While in-house legal counsel may not represent the business in all specialized legal matters such as intellectual property, foreign state law and litigation, it is strategic and wise to have legal counsel manage and communicate with specialized outside counsel on behalf of your business.
In summary when your business has a consistent need for legal services or escalating legal demands it may be worth sitting down and evaluating these key points. If you are considering investing in legal counsel, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced corporate attorneys to discuss this new venture at 619-432-5145.