Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What An "Out-House" General Counsel Can Do For A CEO

In today’s economic times, CEO’s of emerging and mid-sized companies can ill-afford to incur unanticipated risks or see a badly structured transaction or contract erode hard-earned company profits. That is one of the many reasons that a CEO’s team should include an experienced General Counsel. The mission of the General Counsel is to facilitate the achievement of the company’s business goals and profitability by being a proactive, valued member of the management team. If the company is not in a financial position to take on an "in-house" General Counsel, it should consider retaining an "out-house" one.

A General Counsel, whether "in-house" or "out-house" tends to be far more knowledgeable about the company's industry, business operations, strategy and new product opportunities than typical outside law firm attorneys who are not accustomed to being on site or serve as hands on members of the business unit. While an "in-house" General Counsel is ideal, my approach to the duties as an "out-house" General Counsel is the same. I approach the "out-house" General Counsel function with the goal of providing business clients with critical corporate legal services replicating, as much as possible, the methods, approach, and style of an in-house law department. As a result, I am keenly attuned to the full range of legal and business issues embedded in the company’s business, understand the business priorities, and can add critical value by proactively translating legal risk into business reality. As an inside legal expert, I have the ability to devise action plans, engage in timely and decisive risk prevention strategies as well as to cost-effectively and creatively find solutions to legal problems.

As your businesses' "out-house" General Counsel I emphasize the importance of developing a working environment where I am integrated with the client and am a member of the management team. When business people perceive that an "out-house" General Counsel can provide creative legal solutions with a business perspective, they are drawn more deeply into business teams as high value-added contributors as well as trusted advisors. A savvy CEO is one who recognizes the business advantages and risk reduction that an "out-house" General Counsel can bring, and ensures that his or her executive management team always includes this valuable team member.

If you think your company could benefit from the services of an "out-house" General Counsel, please contact Daniel J. Alexander II at dja2@dja2law.com or (714) 730-4040 ext. 2.

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