February 2020 Newsletter – Outsourced General Counsel Services
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Outsourced General Counsel Services
By: Raymond “Ray” Hafner
Running a small business is a never-ending parade of obstacles, tasks, and challenges that need to be surmounted. Add in the complexity and nuance of legal issues facing a competitive, highly-regulated industry and there is more than enough worry to keep a CEO or manager up at night. Large companies typically hire a general counsel for this very reason – executives know exactly who to call when faced with a legal problem where getting it wrong could be disastrous.
But having a full-time lawyer on staff rarely makes sense for enterprises not yet large enough to face a steady stream of legal questions. For starters, experienced, qualified, and capable lawyers are expensive. Second, the majority of legal issues facing a company are routine and shouldn’t require high-priced in-house counsel. It’s when those crucial legal situations do come up, however, that it’s essential for company management to get good, reliable, and up-to-date legal advice. Without a trusted advisor in place, management can be left unsure of their outside counsel, whose knowledge of the company may be slight and whose incentives or timeline may be at odds with the company’s goals.
One solution to this problem is Outsourced General Counsel Services (“OGCS”) with R. Reese & Associates (“RR&A”). Companies with an outsourced General Counsel can get all of the benefits of a General Counsel for a fraction of the cost. RR&A is comprised exclusively with attorneys who have spent time both in-house and as outside counsel. So what are those benefits?
One Phone Call. An outsourced General Counsel serves as your first point of contact for any legal issue that might arise. Instead of having multiple lawyers for each of the different legal issues facing your company – disputes, transactions, employment, contracts, etc. – you have one firm ready to respond to whatever comes your way. If the issue requires a specialized attorney, RR&A can find, negotiate with, and supervise the right legal specialist.
Knowledge of Your Business. Most lawyers claim to understand your business, but few ever truly do. An outsourced General Counsel is there to see how all the parts fit together and provide legal advice from a macro perspective. Over time, OGCS allows RR&A to develop a deep understanding of your business. The company’s overall objectives, policies, and strategies become a natural part of our approach to your legal issues – allowing us to achieve solutions in line with the company’s goals and values.
Up-to-Date Expertise. Most in-house lawyers will admit that once they left their career at a firm and stopped working for multiple clients, their skills and legal knowledge quickly atrophy. For in-house lawyers, staying up to date requires time off for classes and expensive continuing legal education. The in-house lawyer only sees the issues their employer is facing today – not what’s coming tomorrow. RR&A is a specialty oil and gas firm that actively works in numerous plays and states. We work on new and novel challenges every day, requiring our attorneys to stay abreast of changes to the law and changes in industry practice.
Efficiency. Hiring new counsel takes time and energy away from running your business and it takes time for new counsel to get up to speed. OGCS allows your team to hand off their legal issues and quickly get solutions. When using OGCS, these processes become smoother and more reliable. RR&A is able to develop historical and legacy knowledge of your business, understanding right away the decisions that were made in the past and how they might affect current operations or transactions.
Focus. Outsourcing legal work and issues to RR&A lets your employees focus on their core tasks and responsibilities. Regularly consulting with your outsourced general counsel also lets your company be proactive rather than reactive in spotting issues that may affect your business. RR&A can think long-term about the challenges you might face while you handle the day-to-day.
Affordability & Predictability. OGCS makes it easy to see exactly where your legal spend is taking place, without having to combine invoices from dozens or more law firms. This can help shape your spending and cut down on unnecessary fees. Using an outsourced model is also a perfect way to switch to flat-rate, hybrid, or alternative billing practices, giving your controller month-to-month certainty on what your legal spend will be.
If any of these attributes sounds attractive for your organization, then Outsourced General Counsel Services may be a good fit. Please contact RR&A to discuss.
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