When Should Your Company Hire Its First In-House Counsel?

Are law firm and legal counsel bills piling up so much that you feel hiring a general counsel seems a better option?

You might be pondering over these questions: When to hire a general counsel? How to hire a general counsel?

Your startup might have started earning $100 million or much more, or new projects, contracts, regulatory hurdles, and compliance needs might be taking a lot of time and money. Your future plans might involve expanding to new countries.

Hiring a general counsel might become a huge factor in having control over all the legal matters handled by your company or become a hasty decision that generates very little value. It depends on how well you have assessed the decision to go for a general counsel hire.

Here is a blog borrowing insights from our top legal recruiters to guide you about hiring a general counsel for the first time.

Considering Hiring A General Counsel? When Is The Right Time?

1. Evaluate Your Legal Needs

The first step in discovering whether hiring a general counsel will be a great idea is to take time out to evaluate your legal needs. Create a panel or a committee to create a detailed report on the diverse legal counsel needs of your company.

2. Classify Type of Legal Work, Frequency, Bills

The committee created to provide a report for making a decision about general counsel hire should be such that it can be grilled down to get granular insights.

Analyze all the legal bills that occurred in the current and the previous financial year. How many times have you hired a lawyer or a law firm? Were you always getting assistance on time? Are most of the legal responsibilities about reviewing external and internal contracts and policies and getting the right paperwork done?

You will be able to find out how much time and money was spent on legal work for different areas, divisions, and operations. It will help you decide whether hiring a general counsel is an immediate need or for the next year.

3. Find Out Time Spent By Top Executives, Management in Legal Work Monitoring

When considering hiring a general counsel, a key question asked by legal headhunters is how much time is spent by top executives or the top management team in supervising, monitoring, and taking care of legal aspects.

Also, it is worth finding out how many times an attorney or a lawyer was consulted for strategic business decisions. The strategic decision-making about projects and contracts or regulatory compliance can stretch for days depending on the availability of the right personnel in law firms. In such cases, it is worth going for a general counsel hire.

4. Determine Present and Future Needs

If over 50% of the law firm bills incurred during the previous years pertain to some specific litigation or specialized work, it is not necessary to invest in hiring an in-house general counsel. Complex litigation work is best handled by a specialist law firm, which is not an option to be ignored, even if you have a general counsel.

Sometimes, companies have not properly considered the future needs that require a general counsel hire. If you are planning an IPO, buying or leasing properties, entering new geographies, or launching a business in a tightly regulated market, it is worth hiring a general counsel.

The activities mentioned above will enable you to get a clear idea about the need to make a general counsel hire.

Moving to the question of how to hire a general counsel! Should you hire a generalist or a specialist attorney?

Whom To Hire – Generalist or In-House Specialist In-House Counsel?

Areas Your In-House Counsel Will Take Charge Of

Make a list of the key areas where a general counsel hire is required. For example, real estate, corporate governance, HR and employment law matters, intellectual property matters, contract drafting and review, public relations, etc.

Functions and Roles

If most of your legal work is concentrated in a single area, it is worthwhile considering hiring a general counsel with specialized experience in that area.

On the other hand, if you are planning a general counsel hire to get a veteran to supervise all legal work management and free the top management from spending a lot of time on legal and compliance matters, then hiring a generalist might be preferable.

Make a clear list of key duties, the time required per month/week, and the levels of expertise required for different kinds of legal processes required in your company.

Need For Outside Legal Counsel

Hiring a general counsel does not mean that you will not require any outside legal counsel. It will be extremely rare to find legal professionals with specializations in all the areas of law for which your company requires legal assistance.

Final Decision

There are many ways in which you get in-house general counsel services. Our legal recruitment consultant will extend all support in letting you explore the right options.

  • Full-time general counsel hire
  • Part-time general counsel hire
  • Partial/Fractional general counsel services

The final decision needs to be based on a careful analysis of all existing and potential legal needs based on your future business plans.

Do you need more insights for your question, “how to hire a general counsel?” Please get in touch with us for a free consultation.

Alliance Recruitment Agency

Alliance Recruitment Agency is a company with a global team of legal recruitment consultants. We help companies find and hire a general counsel who will be the right fit for the requirements of the company.

Get in touch with us and let us help you in making a decision that will have a highly positive impact on your business! Reach out to us by sending a message here. We will revert for a free consultation!