If you own or operate a business of any size, you certainly understand many of the risks associated with your livelihood. Oftentimes, however, business owners are so singularly focused on bottom line profits that they may back-burner other risks that may be lurking around the corner. Of course, when you open your business you are rightly focused on profits over other priorities (because if you can’t keep the lights on, everything else seems moot), but what happens when you exclusively prioritize profits to the exclusion of other risks?

Well, when we do that (and most of us do), we tend to be surprised and taken aback when we get sued, or threatened to be sued, by an employee, business partner, competitor, customer, client, family member, stranger … the list goes on.

And, as you may expect, this risk becomes very costly and immediately eats into these profits. So what can you do?  While your business may not immediately possess the capital or bandwidth to hire an in-house counsel as a company employee, businesses of all sizes are now seeking guidance of outside general counsel.

First of all, what is an outside general counsel?  Also referred to as outside corporate counsel, these are individual lawyers who do not work for the company but offer general legal services to the business and handle most or all of the headaches the business confronts on a daily basis. These lawyers provide advice on a daily/weekly/monthly basis on various issues that the business may encounter, in matters ranging from general business practices, to compliance and labor issues, to litigation and threatened litigation, to regulatory guidance and internal investigations. These lawyers come to possess a fundamental understanding about your business, your employees, your priorities and your mission, and help you stay on track.

Ok, that sounds nice. But do you really need outside general counsel? Maybe. Here are some reasons why outside general counsel may be a good option for your business:

  1. Outside general counsel can save you $. How? By mitigating your risks. These lawyers ensure that your internal controls are up to snuff, your in-house training is robust, and that your staff are following the rules. What’s the best protection against lawsuits by disgruntled employees and investigations by regulators? Meaningful internal controls. Lawyers can help strengthen those internal controls.
  2. Outside general counsel can also go after money on your behalf. This not only involves tracking down money you are owed, but lawyers can also help you determine whether you when you’re eligible for grant funds from the government and can help you identify other funding sources or overall cost-savings measures.
  3. Outside general counsel resolves conflicts before they get to court. Outside counsel steps in when a disgruntled employee or customer threatens suit.  Having outside general counsel at your immediate disposal can not only diffuse an otherwise tense situation, but also can create an immediate deterrent to suits by signaling to the other side the difficulty they’d have to navigate to get to you (which means going through the lawyers).
  4. Outside general counsel offers peace of mind for business owners and operators that allows you to focus on those other critical priorities for your business like profits and growth and innovation. Leave the headaches to us.


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