When train travel first was invented, and human beings experienced the relative comfort and speed of mechanized travel, it was a revelation. Accounts of the time emphasize the vastly greater comfort and pleasantness of traveling via rail versus via stagecoach and carriage and cart, not to mention on horseback or on foot. An equally great sea-change is happening now in the provision of business legal services to smaller and mid-size businesses: in-house outsourced fractional general counsel (GC) services.
The idea is to harness some of the trends that have swept the broader economy – remote work during the COVID-19 era and the increasing prevalence of electronic (rather than face-to-face) means of communications such as videoconferencing and even holographic videoconferencing have created a new way of harnessing business legal services. Attorneys working remotely – even from home or from the beachfront – can drastically cut their overhead and pass that on to smaller to mid-size clients. Instead of fancy and expensive corporate offices that are designed to impress in face-to-face meetings but don’t add any real value to the legal services themselves, attorneys can focus on providing their business legal services straight up at a bargain rate.
This has allowed those business attorneys to smaller companies that don’t easily fit into traditional law firms’ expensive and unpredictable billing rates and ballooning legal fees the opportunity to harness great business lawyers at a fraction of the cost. The idea is as follows:
1. Don’t Pay For What You Don’t Need. As a small to medium-sized business, you don’t need fancy gleaming corporate offices on the seventy-second floor with a view that stretches from Central Park West to China. You don’t need it because it comes with a pricetag that makes it not worth the price. You also don’t need a gigantic team of lawyers all staffing up your contracts so as to balloon billing rates and legal fees to Fortune 500 proportions. Finally, you don’t need a full-time in-house GC who will need a fancy office in your offices and take a high six-figure salary. Your needs have not yet reached that level, and you are working hard on a tight budget to succeed at your business. So you should only pay for what you really need: That’s part-time outsourced fractional general counsel services that will provide an experienced lawyer who knows his or her stuff but doesn’t upcharge you constantly. You need a good deal. And you need an experienced business attorney who knows what he or she is doing and is dedicated to your business.
2. Don’t Choose a Law Firm Wolf in Fractional GC Sheep’s Clothing. A lot of traditional law firms try to lure smaller to mid-size businesses by promising outsourced fractional general counsel services. But they do so on the same terms as they service their regular clients. That means high overhead costs entailing high billable hour rates and huge legal bills. That means a black box in which the lawyer who speaks with you is likely not the service lawyer who performs your actual legal work. This creates a disconnect, and with expensive billing practices, it’s a costly disconnect to have.
3. Don’t Choose a Law Firm That Doesn’t Use the Latest Technology. Because we are in the fractional GC services world, it’s easy to harness the advantages of tech, and it’s important to choose an outsourced fractional general counsel services platform that harnesses tech, making it convenient and secure to store documents, chat between lawyer and client, and pay bills smoothly and easily.
For the best options in outsourced in-house fractional general counsel services, choose one that fulfills the above criteria, and you’re unlikely to go wrong.