Advantages of Retaining Outside General Counsel
If you own or manage a small to medium-sized business, you know that legal concerns often arise during the course of operations. These can range from employment issues to governmental compliance to disputes with third parties. Keeping a lawyer on staff is an option for companies with a regular demand for legal services, but that creates an ongoing expense that can hit hard at the bottom line.
If you’re in need of steady business law advice but your company is not in a financial position to hire an in-house attorney, you might consider retaining a full-service business law firm as your general counsel. This arrangement gives you the flexibility to seek advice and hands-on assistance only as needed, thus keeping tight control of your legal expenses. Your attorneys can respond promptly to issues, often preventing them from becoming problems that can lead to litigation.
A skilled and experienced business law firm can serve as your corporate counsel in these areas:
- General representation, consultation and advice — Many legal problems can be avoided or mitigated by consultation and advice prior to taking action. With extensive knowledge of and experience in business law, our firm’s attorneys and staff have met with literally thousands of clients over the years. This treasure trove of information based on others’ experience is available to your company. The firm understands the interplay of “black hat” legal advice and “white hat” business considerations and can help your company have the full information it needs to make informed decisions.
- Organizational matters — Whether your company is a C or S corporation, a limited liability company (LLC) or a general or limited partnership, there are government filings, record-keeping and reporting requirements as well as contractual concerns that require close attention. This includes the drafting, review and enforcement of corporate shareholder agreements and LLC operating agreements. Many states now mandate operating agreements and many companies, particularly those formed online, do not have an operating agreement or their version is not legally compliant. In any case, the lack of a well-considered and drafted shareholders or operating agreement can cause serious partnership disputes and even business divorce.
- Employment — Our firm drafts and reviews key employee and confidentiality agreements for businesses and medical offices. Besides helping you adhere to federal and state wage-and-hour, anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws, our attorneys can assist in negotiating and implementing contracts with key employees, such as non-disclosure agreements and covenants not to compete. Non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disparagement and confidentiality provisions in employment agreements are important, common and effective. They can be a business “life-saver” but they need to be carefully drawn to comply with state and federal law. Both the company’s employment agreements and the employment agreements of the prospective new hire must be carefully considered. Hiring employees subject to non-competition provisions is a major source of claims against not only the employee but also the new employer. The firm has extensive experience in this area with clients from all over the country seeking advice about Arizona’s requirements.
- Commercial transactions — Drafting, negotiation and review of contracts, including but not limited to business purchase-sale agreements, product and service sales agreements, website terms and conditions, distributor agreements, leases and other agreements with third parties, must be carried out with careful attention to detail in order to protect and further your company’s interests. Franchise disclosure documents merit special attention and our firm has a checklist of points to evaluate your franchise both legally and practically.
- Commercial litigation — The firm handles all types of business-related litigation, including, without limitation, contract and other disputes involving customers, vendors, employees, contractors, partners or competitors in both state and federal courts.
- Regulatory compliance and enforcement — Depending on your type of industry, government regulation may be complex and demanding. Qualified counsel can help assure you stay in compliance and can rise to your defense if you face regulatory enforcement measures or investigations by state or federal enforcement agencies.
- White collar criminal defense — We provide active and experienced defense for white-collar crimes, including but not limited to securities fraud, telemarketing violations, business opportunity fraud, embezzlement, wire fraud and money laundering.
- Intellectual property — Trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other proprietary information are often a company’s chief assets. In the internet age, cybersecurity and data-breach prevention require constant vigilance.
- Business succession — Assuring a smooth transition upon a key owner’s withdrawal or retirement is essential to a business’s viability. Skilled counsel can help you create, obtain and periodically review buy-sell agreements, retirement packages, insurance policies and other planning documents.
Another important advantage of retaining outside corporate counsel is that they can represent you when litigation becomes necessary. Even if you have an in-house attorney, he or she will likely have to refer litigation matters to an outside firm. By having a steady working relationship with a business law advisor who is also skilled in dispute resolution, you can avoid excessive legal fees.
Please consider the Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth, P.C. as your as-needed corporate counsel. We can establish a monthly retainer based on your average usage and carry the unused balance for future projects. If interested, please call us at 866-696-2033 or contact us online.