The latest trend in legal services is fractional general counsel, offering small business owners an affordable way to hire a general counsel. Online legal marketplaces have been a significant driver of the popularity of functional general counsel. Currently, at least 69% of Americans would prefer online legal services compared to the traditional way of hiring attorneys.
The shift in preferences is justifiable considering the high demand for legal services and the existing unmet legal service gaps. In 2020 alone, more than 57 million Americans were seeking urgent legal assistance against just under 2 million lawyers. As it stands, the concept of fractional general counsel solves this existing bottleneck to legal service access.
It's inevitable to implore the intervention of an attorney when looking for urgent legal services, such as legal drafting or contract review. However, hiring a traditional attorney for such basic legal processes may not make economic and logical sense. But what other options can a client consider apart from hiring a formal general counsel? Opting for fractional general counsel is the next best option when dealing with day-to-day legal needs.
What is a Fractional General Counsel?
A fractional general counsel is quite the opposite of an in-house general attorney. Attorneys within this category are often independent contractors who offer ongoing legal services. These are part-time licensed attorneys who provide legal services at a flat-rate or fixed price charge in most cases. Ideally, these lawyers offer their legal services through the legal marketplace. As a result, more straightforward tasks such as legal drafting can be accomplished within the shortest time.
Main Difference Between Fractional General Counsel and General Counsel
Most small businesses often get confused about whether to consider paying a law firm for services over hiring in-house counsel when hiring a lawyer. The main difference between a fractional general counsel and the general counsel is that the latter is an employee of the company. In contrast, the latter is a freelance or independent legal expert.
Businesses have assumed that they must have a company lawyer who enjoys in-house salary and other accruing benefits for a while.
A general counsel is bound to your organization based on underlying permanent terms. As an in-house employee, you don't have the luxury to terminate their agreement at will. However, a fractional general counsel can draft your legal papers today, and you proceed to choose another counsel tomorrow. The terms of engagement are on an on-demand basis, which makes your relationship easy.
What Does a Fractional General Counsel Do?
You probably wonder whether the fractional general counsel works similarly to a law firm. For starters, the law firm has multiple clients they deal with simultaneously. Each client gets billed hourly or is on a retainer with the law firm. The fractional general counsel operates based on a set fee. Once you meet the set fee, you can access the attorney for any legal advice and support you may need.
Anyone can seek the services of a fractional general counsel. Whether you are limited liability, non-profit, or individual clients, you can agree on an hourly rate or determine a specific service charge. This will depend on the nature and frequency of your legal needs.
Now that this legal option is a new trend, most potential clients may wonder about the kind of clientele it targets. Well, the fractional general counsel is not client-specific. A business at any level of the growth cycle can access this service. If you can access a reliable legal marketplace, you can hire a fractional general counsel with one click. Regardless of whether you run a small business or a behemoth organization, this option is open to you.
What Does a Fractional General Counsel Cost?
Clients often have a general perception that legal fees are pricey. However, this applies more when dealing with in-house lawyers with a full-time salary or big law firms that require a retainer. When dealing with fractional general counsel, the costs vary depending on various factors.
Among these factors is the complexity of the task you want to be done. If the matter at hand is highly complex, then the cost may be higher. A functional general counsel usually will charge legal fees depending on the number of hours they may spend on your specific case. If more hours are needed on the case, then there's a chance that you may need to be slightly higher.
Another factor that often affects the overall cost of fractional general counsel is the experience. Most of the more experienced fractional general attorneys charge more than novices in the field. On average, you need $150-$350 for you to access fractional general counsel services. The charge may be slightly higher depending on the factors discussed above.
How Does a Fractional General Counsel Charge?
The fractional general counsel considers specific factors when determining the actual charge for legal services offered. First, the engagement with clients is demand-based. As such, the clients and the attorney have the leeway to decide the terms of engagement. The fractional general counsel may charge their services based on an hourly rate. This, however, may be subject to hard estimates for specific projects.
In other cases, the factional general counsel may determine the legal charge based on a weekly or monthly rate. This is more so in cases where you may need legal support over a period longer than one week. In such cases, you can negotiate with the functional general counsel and reach an agreeable rate. The good thing about the charging criteria in the case of fractional general counsel is that you only get to incur the legal cost whenever you need a lawyer.
Who Needs a Fractional General Counsel?
Now that you understand the dynamics around fractional general counsel, do you need this kind of legal service? Well, legal support is an inevitable need for any business. Whether you run a small startup or a large organization, you'll need to consider legal counsel at some point. However, the fractional general counsel is a legal option meant to serve small and medium-sized businesses that may need legal support but lack financial muscle. Big companies may also opt for this option to accomplish more urgent but short-term projects.
How To Find a Fractional General Counsel
When sourcing for fractional general counsel, you may need to take your time and conduct the necessary due diligence before committing. So how do you ensure that you get the best fractional general counsel?
- Consider referrals from friends and relatives
- Check out the fractional general counsel's experience
- Review the counsel's reputation
- Check out for reviews by past clients
- Ask for proof of past engagement on similar projects
- Compare the legal fee charged
Get Access to a Trusted Fractional General Counsel Today
The need for legal support is inevitable for businesses at one point during normal operations. Therefore, it's essential to have an attorney you can trust. In addition, most clients seek the services of a legal expert for critical legal issues such as employee compensation or other everyday legal needs such as drafting and contract reviews. However, sourcing for traditional attorneys has been a hectic, costly, and time-consuming process in the past. However, the trend is changing with the gradual acceptance of legal marketplaces as alternative sources for legal support.
Today, you can easily hire a fractional general counsel without the traditional complexities of hiring a lawyer. The option is cost-friendly, fast, and convenient. You no longer must worry about the legal costs of hiring an in-house lawyer or the frustration that comes with booking for a general counsel. Are you looking for fractional general counsel with a reputation for success? Contact us today for reliable services.
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