ContractsCounsel Logo
Home Contract Lawyers Outside General Counsel

Outside General Counsel

Jump to Section

No matter what industry or geographic region your company serves, there are specific laws and rules that you must follow. This need usually prompts business owners to consider hiring legal representation but often find that they cannot afford the costs associated with in-house counsel. Outside general counsel is a perfect balance, even if you already have in-house counsel, due to this arrangement’s flexible and cost-effective nature.

The article below covers everything that a start-up or business owner should know about hiring outside general counsel:

What Is Outside General Counsel?

Outside general counsel is a cost-effective way for medium and small businesses to retain the services of a lawyer or law firm. You generally hire outside general counsel as an independent contractor to work alone or with your in-house counsel. They have the capacity to handle matters, such as drafting and reviewing contracts, going to civil court, or offering ad-hoc legal advice.

You can hire outside general counsel to advise you in the following areas of law:

  • Commercial real estate
  • Contracts & transactions
  • Corporate governance
  • Employment law
  • Finance
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Technology

Lawyers or law firms that provide outside general counsel services come in a variety of sizes and specializations. They usually work on flat fees, subscription payments, and traditional hourly billing. Law firms that offer these services will transparently share their billing requirements and practices with you before retention.

ContractsCounsel Outside General Counsel Image

What is an Outside General Counsel’s Role?

Outside general counsel’s role is to offer business law services to start-ups and companies. They work externally as independent contractors, which means that your company doesn’t have to afford the standard accouterments of working with private employees. Law firms that offer outside general counsel services are often prepared to customize their approach to your company’s unique needs.

Your outside general counsel team can fulfill the following roles:

  • Managing legal drafting, contract negotiation , and contract review efforts
  • Spotting breach of contract issues internally and externally
  • Providing ongoing legal advice on routine matters
  • Handling the delegation of incoming legal matters
  • Working with specialists and experts to achieve desired results
  • Coordinating with your in-house team to navigate various legal issues
  • Engaging in risk management services to mitigate financial exposure
  • Directing efforts related to internal matters, like board meetings and disputes
  • Representing the company in transactions, negotiations, and litigation
  • Advising on employee-related issues
  • Training employees and executives on business-related matters
  • Drafting the documents necessary for business formations

Your outside general counsel will need to possess the same abilities, qualifications, and skills as in-house general counsel. This requirement means that they must have a valid law degree and licensure through the local bar association. What makes outside general counsel’s different is that they serve multiple customers versus working privately in-house.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Rebecca R.

8 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Samuel R.

67 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Leonid G.

4 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Faryal A.

191 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Benefits of Having Outside General Counsel

Companies of all sizes face legal issues regularly. Outside general counsel’s most significant benefit is providing ongoing legal advice and advisement on various matters, from regulatory issues to compliance.

Here are four benefits of hiring outside general counsel:

Benefit #1. Finances

Hiring outside general counsel is a cost-effective method of legal representation. Instead of keeping an in-house team on-staff, you can work with outside general counsel as needed. There’s no need to pay them benefits, bonuses, or make space at your office.

Benefit #2. Geographic Diversity

Many start-ups require the help of outside general counsel to transcend country and state lines. Breaking into new markets may require a full review of the rules and regulations that apply. Your outside general counsel can help you navigate these murky waters while helping you avoid legal mistakes.

Benefit #3. Specialization Access

It is beneficial to have outside general counsel based on their access to specialized people and experts. Outside general counsel can help connect with others. Instead of costs acting as a deterrent, the flexible nature of outside counsel can make it a possibility.

Benefit #4. Efficacy

Large companies will benefit from using outside general counsel for routine matters. They use in-house counsel to manage the overarching legal strategy and vision. In contrast, outside counsel handles the ad-hoc assignments. Small companies enjoy these advantages similarly since they can work with a solo practitioner on an as-needed basis.

Difference Between Corporate Counsel and General Counsel

There’s no difference between corporate counsel and general counsel. You can use the terms interchangeably. However, it’s better to use corporate counsel when referring to a corporation.

Can You Be Outside General Counsel to More Than One Company?

Yes, you can be outside general counsel to more than one company. However, the representing firm must ensure that no conflicts of interest exist with their current clients. More prominent law firms utilize conflict of interest software to ensure that your representation is ethical and fair.

When Should a Company Hire Outside General Counsel?

A company should hire general counsel as they begin experiencing significant growth. Usually, these benchmarks manifest in better infrastructure, a growing executive team, and raising capital. Even for the in-between phases of a company lifecycle, outside general counsel can become an invaluable resource that you can lean on as uncertainty arises.

1. When You’re Growing

Outside general counsel’s job is to assist you in growing and, hopefully, lowering expenses. As such, they’ll concentrate on contract and daily risk management, as well as acting as a consultant. They’ll review your company from a big picture perspective, keep you out of trouble, and look for opportunities to grow your organization.

2. When You’re In Trouble

If your company does find itself in hot water, outside general counsel can and will intervene on your behalf. Some matters are best handled by a business lawyer who has a strong command of legal knowledge and a deep bench of experience. They will make the dispute resolution and litigation process more streamlined while representing you as issues arise.

3. When You Need Legal Advice

Sometimes a business owner just has legal questions in general. Wouldn’t it be ideal to have someone on retainer that you could just call or email to answer them as needed? Outside general counsel is like having a legal doctor that can diagnose, analyze, and process your situation while applying relevant laws to it.

4. When Your In-House Team Needs Support

Outsourced general counsel and in-house teams can work together. Instead of bringing on another lawyer, you can support your existing team with outside general counsel. They can perform routine matters and take on transactional work that tends to bog down your in-house counsel while freeing them up for more pressing issues.

5. When the Benefit Outweighs the Cost

Standing on the losing side of a civil lawsuit is often more expensive than hiring a law firm in the first place. It’s not a drain on your financial resources if the costs outweigh the benefit. The firm you select should act as a transparent partnership that seeks to achieve positive outcomes for you and your team while not being afraid to offer a tough or unpopular opinion.

Hiring Outside General Counsel

If you want to hire outside general counsel, speak with business lawyers. They can offer you an initial consultation to learn more about how they can customize their services to fit your needs. Hiring outside general counsel is a wise approach if you need ongoing legal advice without a significant financial commitment.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to get quotes for outside general counsel services. ContractsCounsel is a leading legal marketplace with vetted lawyers ready to help your business.


ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


How To Get Quotes For Outside General Counsel

1
Post your project.
Create a project posting in our marketplace. We will ask you the questions lawyers need to know to provide pricing.
2
Receive multiple bids.
Receive multiple bids from vetted lawyers in our network that have the experience to help you with your project.
3
Review and hire.
Compare multiple proposals from lawyers and arrange calls through our platform. Securely make payment to hire your lawyer.

Meet some of our Outside General Counsel Lawyers

Morgan S. on ContractsCounsel
View Morgan
5.0 (7)
Member Since:
July 31, 2023

Morgan S.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Austin, Texas
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX, WV
University of Pittsburgh Law School

Corporate Attorney that represents startups, businesses, investors, VC/PE doing business throughout the country. Representing in a range of matters from formation to regulatory compliance to financings to exit. Have a practice that represents both domestic and foreign startups, businesses, and entrepreneurs. Along with VC, Private Equity, and investors.

Michael R. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
August 21, 2023

Michael R.

Corporate Attorney
Free Consultation
Pennsville, New Jersey
29 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ
Catholic University of America

Corporate/SEC/M&A Attorney with 25+ years of experience. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Vast knowledge of SEC regulatory framework and M&A strategies.

Rachel C. on ContractsCounsel
View Rachel
4.9 (5)
Member Since:
August 1, 2023

Rachel C.

Contract Attorney
Free Consultation
St. Louis, MO
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MO
St. Louis University

Contract attorney who enjoys empowering individuals and businesses with contracts that stand as a fortress against potential disputes and uncertainties. Find peace of mind with prepared agreements ensure that your agreements are enforceable and aligned with your long-term objectives.

Myrna L. on ContractsCounsel
View Myrna
4.7 (1)
Member Since:
August 1, 2023

Myrna L.

Attorney/Contract Manager
Free Consultation
San Francisco
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Lincoln Law School of Sacramento

I am a licensed attorney in California. I worked as a Contract Manager for the State of California for 14 years, negotiating and developing contracts and grants funded by federal and state government. As an owner of a real estate/property management company and real estate asset manager for corporations, non profit organizations and government entities, I negotiated sales and managements of industrial, commercial, and residential properties including development of contracts, leases, subleases, options, and sales agreements. As an attorney, I have worked on contracts, labor/employment cases, landlord/tenant and probate cases.

Daniel W. on ContractsCounsel
View Daniel
Member Since:
July 31, 2023

Daniel W.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Gallup, New Mexico
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in ID, NM, WA
Seattle University School of Law

In my thirteen years of practice, I've had the opportunity to argue cases in state, federal, and tribal courts; in subjects as diverse as gaming, land tenure, water rights, treaty rights, finance, employment, criminal defense, conflict of laws, and tort (among others). But the real value I brought my clients came through avoiding litigation, fostering relationships, and developing long-term strategies.

Christopher I. on ContractsCounsel
View Christopher
Member Since:
August 1, 2023

Christopher I.

Business Attorney
Free Consultation
Merrillville, Indiana
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IN
Indiana University Mauer School of Law

Owner at Irak Law Office in Merrillville, Indiana. Licensed attorney since 2015. Primary focuses include business/corporate law, startup formation, and contract drafting. Love working with small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Christi D. on ContractsCounsel
View Christi
Member Since:
August 1, 2023

Christi D.

Lawyer
Free Consultation
Las Vegas
5 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NV
William S. Boyd School of Law

Attorney. I love contracts, estate plans, and prenuptial agreements! I would love to help you on the same.

Timothy J. on ContractsCounsel
View Timothy
Member Since:
August 1, 2023

Timothy J.

Corporate Counsel
Free Consultation
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, IL, WI
Illinois Institute of Technology: Chicago-Kent College of Law

Financial Services, Business, Corporate, Personal Injury, and Healthcare. I've represented fortune 100 companies and defended individuals in personal debt litigation. Wide breadth of experience, ready to assist.

Mervin F. on ContractsCounsel
View Mervin
Member Since:
August 1, 2023
Dennis W. on ContractsCounsel
View Dennis
Member Since:
August 2, 2023

Dennis W.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Chicago/Schaumburg
31 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
The John Marshall Law School

2008 - Present: Sole Practitioner – Dennis W. Winkler, P.C. Practice primarily in finance and business transactions, as well as commercial real estate transactions. Represent developers, investors, lenders, and businesses, in such matters as: corporate entity selection, drafting and negotiating complex asset purchase agreements, corporate mergers and sales, stock purchase agreements, and various other business contracts for closely related businesses. Involved in a variety of real estate developments, multi-family apartment buildings, construction and acquisition financing, commercial leasing, sophisticated workout transactions, joint ventures, and tax-deferred exchanges. Advise on tax and other savings incentives available to business owners and real estate owners in Illinois. Advise companies involved in related real estate activities such as sales, leasing, property management, brokerage, and construction. Tax experience that includes the representation of taxpayers in State and Federal controversies including: sales/excess tax disputes and responsible parties’ tax assessment protest. Additionally, Dennis has experience in the protest of real estate taxes of commercial and multi-family real estate. As a legal and business advisor, Dennis is committed to helping clients find, develop, and close deals that further their business objectives. Dennis regularly advises entrepreneurs and closely held businesses on matters incidental to their day-to-day business operations as well as their capital raising and start-up needs, corporate structure, private equity raises, and operating agreements. Much like general counsel, Dennis’s breadth of experience allows him to not only provide strategic planning and routine business transactional support to companies, but he also regularly advises on a number of unique issues facing companies by spotting issues and engaging specialists when needed, such as intellectual property, environmental, and bankruptcy counsel. As such, Dennis has been actively involved in sales and acquisitions of manufacturing companies, trucking companies, and logistics companies.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Need help with a legal contract?

We are here to help. Get started. No upfront payment.

GET FREE PROPOSALS
Outside General Counsel lawyers by city

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city