Sayeth the Bard: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
In context, Shakespeare’s character recommended advancing chaos – and ultimately revolution – by eliminating lawyers. Our firm prefers to interpret this quote as a recognition of the crucial role lawyers play in stabilizing business transactions…
Though necessary, lawyers can be expensive. So the question is, how does one get the best advice in the most cost-effective way?
In-house legal staff provide general advice at “fixed” rates, but won’t be able to manage overflow and sometimes require specialist advice. Traditional law firms give that specialist advice, but often at eye-watering hourly rates. The solution is to blend these models.
(With apologies to Dr. Pangloss): Outside counsel on a fixed-fee retainer is the best of all possible worlds because you get:
1. Value: Superior and unparalleled. The client receives senior executive-level support and subject matter expertise at a fraction of the all-in costs of a full-time junior in-house lawyer.
2. Aligned Interests: A partnership between the company and outside counsel. From the firm’s perspective, there is no incentive to delay or “over-lawyer” matters to generate “billable hours.” From the client’s perspective, there is no trepidation with placing a call, because the meter never starts running.
3. Familiarity: Close familiarity with a company’s affairs translates into increased efficiency and effectiveness. You can always reach out to your outsourced counsel, knowing they can immediately help you because they already have the background knowledge about you, your business, and your goals.
4. Financial Predictability: Forecasting legal costs can be daunting. Under this model, legal services at fixed prices facilitate better cash flow planning.
5. Ease of Adjustment: Outside counsel retainers will always be easier to adjust than employee agreements. There is a clear difference between (1) asking outside counsel for an expanded role or an adjusted retainer and (2) asking an employee to adjust job responsibilities, salary, and benefits. It really is that simple and that stark.
If money were no object, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “We will let our outside counsel handle this?” Under an outsourced legal model, it’s not, and you can.
At The Wallenstein Law Group, we have the knowledge and experience to help you with all of your business’s legal needs. If you are interested in discussing an outsourced legal model, please reach out today. We look forward to hearing from you.