Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Out-House General Counsel Membership Program
In today’s economic times, business owners 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 why a business owner’s team should include an experienced Business Attorney (“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 company’s 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, 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 your business’s own unique legal problems.
As your business’s "out-house" General Counsel I emphasize the importance of developing a working environment where I am integrated in your business 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 wise business owner 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.
As your Out-House General Counsel, my goal is to add value to the dollars your company spends on its legal needs. I also do not want you to be surprised at the end of the month by unexpected high legal bills. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is “I don’t believe you charged me $29.50 for a quick phone call.” Most lawyers charge by the tenth of the hour for whatever they do. Since lawyers are providing a service, we routinely charge for our time. This creates a “conflict” because it is the client’s best interest for the lawyer to spend less time on legal matters and it is in the lawyer’s best interest to spend more time (without necessarily being concerned with the ultimate outcome.) I want to move away from this hourly business model and the focus on time. Accordingly, I have created a membership based business model that focuses on building a relationship and bringing real value to the client.
No matter what your current legal budget or needs are, I have a plan that will fit your business’s needs. There are five plans ranging from a few hundred dollars per month to a few thousand dollars per month. If you are not prepared to commit to one of the plans, I still offer my services on a flat fee and hourly basis. We can also build a custom plan for your particular needs.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above or just want to learn more, please contact Daniel J. Alexander II at (951) 737-4040 ext. 2 or at Out-House General Counsel.