Facing legal, compliance, and regulatory issues are a normal part of running a business. The general counsel is an experienced business attorney who helps companies create and support standard business ventures. General counsel help business clients understand what will be required of them legally speaking to achieve their goals and make their ventures successful. This can mean they help to form a business, navigate and facilitate the contracts and agreements process, and act as a strategic advisor on all legal issues that come up in the running of a company.

Many companies can benefit from the services of an experienced in-house business attorney, but not all have the payroll or the inclination to employ a full-time general counsel. Even those companies that do employ in-house counsel may find their general counsel with too much to do at certain points during the year. For companies that already have a general counsel, outside general counsel can be brought in to help with crisis management, author joint venture, and partnership agreements, manage litigation, or help with partnership disputes. This extra set of legal hands also may be of use if they have special knowledge in a particular area of law (e.g., insurance coverage, mergers, and acquisitions, or labor and employment law. For companies that do not employ a full-time in-house general counsel, outside general counsel may be hired to handle corporate and limited liability (LLC) compliance, contract negotiation, run board meetings, protect intellectual property and trade secrets, risk management, and other day-to-day business concerns.

The need for corporate counsel extends to companies of all sizes. It does not always make sense to employ a full-time in-house counsel. This is particularly true of start-up and early-stage companies, for which hiring full-time in-house counsel is likely cost-prohibitive. In these kinds of situations, hiring an outside business counsel makes sense because it allows companies to leverage the attorney’s experience without having to take on the responsibility of recruiting, hiring, and offering benefits to a full-time employee. Finding an outside general counsel who is familiar with the issues facing certain types of industries can be of particular use, as he or she already has a working knowledge of the kinds of issues that come up when doing business in a particular industry.

General counsel can be of use at all stages of business operations. A qualified outside general counsel will customize his or her approach to each company’s business and is familiar with the company’s history, its way of doing business, and its strategy for the future. They may assist with business formation, contracts and agreements, transactions, corporate governance, real estate acquisitions and leasing, mergers and acquisitions, and technology issues. These issues may present at any point during the running of a business, but general corporate counsel are of particular use during times of business growth and change.

General Corporate Counsel: How We Can Help 

The business attorneys at Payne & Fears regularly serve as general corporate counsel for companies in several industries. We work with clients to structure purchases, sales, and other business agreements that meet their goals and minimize risk exposure. Our attorneys are well-versed in drafting contracts for such transactions and efficiently negotiating the terms of those contracts with other parties. We have a deep understanding of our clients’ business operations and understand our clients’ business goals for the future. We leverage this familiarity to offer efficient, thoughtful, and innovative solutions to their day-to-day business legal issues.

For more information on our general corporate counsel work, please contact Richard K. Zepfel.