There is a new trend in the provision of business legal services that is increasingly the go-to choice services for small businesses including start-ups and mid-size businesses. Outsourced in-house fractional general counsel services provide business law services to those companies. For three reasons, outsourced in-house fractional general counsel services are increasingly gaining marketing share. And understanding each of those reasons is a good rule of thumb for finding and hiring the best outside fractional general counsel services:
Low Fees, Predictable Monthly Bills. In contrast to brick-and-mortar traditional law firms, fractional GC services don’t invest in a lot of costly overhead. No gleaming offices. Instead, video conferencing, telecons, and electronic communications take the place of costly office space. And that savings is passed on to clients, so businesses pay a tiny fraction of what they would pay to traditional law firms. And a tiny fraction of the salary that companies would have to pay to a full-time in-house general counsel if the company had to hire that lawyer as a full-time employee.
It’s also crucially important that your attorney’s eyes be focused on your needs, not on a timer that bills every 6 minutes of that lawyer’s time. Because serving you adds value to your business, “billable hours” as they are called by traditional law firms, do not add value. Outsourced fractional GC services generally bill monthly, and they don’t nickel-and-dime you using egg timers, but charge you a low fee that covers up to a certain amount of time.
That means that the first tip-off that you are dealing with one of the best fractional general counsel services is a great deal, tremendous savings on legal fees and a billing system that covers you monthly so you’ll never get the nasty surprise of inflated legal bills. You always know what you’re getting, and you can budget your monthly legal fees in a reasonable way.
Dedicated Service. It’s essential that your lawyer know your company’s business. That’s because a business attorney isn’t just a key member of a team for negotiating your company’s business deals. Your in-house corporate attorney is also a risk manager: Legal risk can be very costly, and if your lawyer doesn’t know your business well, there’s no way he or she will be able to flag all the legal and/or regulatory risks your business faces to the extent possible. Traditional law firms work on a partner versus associate legal service model, where the partner is the smiling face of the firm, in charge of what traditional law firms call “client relations.” On the other hand, the actual legal work is done by what traditional firms call “service lawyers,” often low-level associate lawyers or of-counsel attorneys who aren’t partners at all. This may get the job done, but it creates a disconnect between the lawyer doing the work and your business. Because the lawyer you’re speaking with isn’t likely to be the lawyer who’s doing your actual legal work. By contrast, fractional GC services at their best provide you with a dedicated lawyer. The lawyer you see is the lawyer who performs your actual legal work. Moreover, he or she is not “lawyering up” your company with a high-cost team of lawyers. That pads legal bills but doesn’t necessarily correlate with dedicated service.
So the second sign that you’re getting the best outsourced fractional general counsel services is that you’re getting a lawyer who’s dedicated to your business, does your legal work him- or herself, and knows your business in order to mitigate your company’s legal risks.
Harnessing Technology for Efficiency and Ease. The last factor that sets apart the best in-house outsourced fractional general counsel services is harnessing technology. You want a one-stop-shop, with your legal bills, your documents, your lawyer, your customer service, and your chats, all in one online platform, so you don’t have to do more than click to get the legal services or the administrative support you need.
That means that the best fractional GC services provide a great technological fix as well. There’s no reason it should be easier to deal with other kinds of services online than it should be to order and interface with outsourced fractional general counsel services.
If your company chooses based on the above three-factor test, you’re more likely than not getting the best in-house outsourced fractional general counsel services available.