What is an Outsourced General Counsel?

Yes, outsourcing is all the rage, sometimes good and sometimes, well….

An outsourced general counsel is an attorney who provides legal services to businesses, their owners and officers on an ongoing basis.  I like to think of your lawyer as an integral piece of your business, your legal “piece” of mind.  Do you need a business lawyer like this?

Almost all large corporations have a general counsel or an in-house staff that consists of attorneys (often called lawyers), sometimes paralegals or legal assistants, and administrative staff.  Some corporations have larger legal departments than others, but these attorneys are employed by the corporate entity and paid to be there whether they are busy with work or not.  The general counsel, in-house attorneys and other in-house staff provide varying degrees of legal work but are generally the front line for vetting and handling the legal matters faced by the business.  These matters might include contact review and approval, joint venture agreements, negotiations, employment issues, forming new corporate entities, handling litigation or managing litigation, and hiring and managing outside legal counsel (usually a law firm hired by the corporation for something more time consuming or specialized than what the corporation employed attorneys can handle).

An outsourced general counsel acts as an in-house lawyer for smaller businesses, however is not an employee of the business so businesses can keep their overhead low, and provides legal services on an as needed or agreed upon basis.  Your lawyer should be trusted by you and integrated into your business dealings, to the extent feasible, in order for your trusted legal advisor to provide you with timely and relevant legal advice.

To determine what an outsourced general counsel does, see my post titled “What does an outsourced general counsel do?

Do you have an outsourced general counsel?

If you are needing help with your business planning  contact us to schedule your comprehensive Business Building Benchmark today so we can identify the best course of action for you. 

Integrated General Counsel


  1. Ann Penners Bergen says

    Great article, Kristen! According to the most recent report by the Institute for Legal Reform, small businesses spent over $105 BILLION in 2008 for tort litigation. Also, based on my experience as a business lawyer, it’s not unusual for one lawsuit to cost over $100,000. Any one of these lawsuits can destroy a small business in its first year. Thus, the importance of a small business obtaining ongoing, regular legal advice –whether outsourced or in-house — cannot be overestimated .
    Ann Penners Bergen
    Pasadena Business Lawyer