Although it is strongly recommended that you consult with a business lawyer when you initiate your business and to have your contracts established and reviewed on a regular basis, it is also beneficial for you to have general counsel in the form of an outside attorney. There are many different benefits that you can reap from outside general counsel. General counsel can be extremely valuable over the course of a company’s lifetime, which is why an owner should consider the opportunity to find someone a good one to undertake sooner rather than later.
General counsel usually refers to a business attorney who helps a company with a broad range of business-related issues that may emerge for a company.
You will have an established relationship with an attorney who understands the ins and outs of your business which makes it much easier if a dispute arises and you need immediate legal action. Furthermore, you will have somebody on your side who will assist you with dealing not only with disputes or problems immediately in front of you but in developing strategic plans that help you to minimize risk as well. As general counsel, your lawyer may assist you with:
- Contract drafting, negotiation, and review
- Business maintenance plans
- Compliance assessments
- Due diligence assistance
- Employment law information and training
- Finance and banking details
- Intellectual property protection
Many business owners only reach out to an attorney after an issue has emerged. However, this could put them in the position of having to develop a relationship relatively quickly with a lawyer that does not know the business very well. This also puts unnecessary stress on the business owner who has to navigate a complex legal situation relatively quickly. This legal situation could have significant ramifications for the business.
In the event that a relationship has already been formed with a knowledgeable general counsel attorney, that lawyer can step in as necessary and also provide prompt and effective feedback on emerging issues in the company. This could help to prevent smaller scale issues from escalating into significant litigation. Many business owners who make use of general counsel find that it is helpful to have someone on the other end of the phone when they have a pertinent question or when they are concerned about an ongoing issue. Identifying outside general counsel should involve a careful evaluation of that counsel’s experience, commitment and communication style.