As businesses grow, so do their legal needs. Oftentimes, a small business starts with one or two people, and the person who draws the short straw has to deal with the company’s legal issues. Frequently, this means calling LegalZoom to form a corporation or LLC and then carefully placing the envelope of material that comes in the mail in a drawer never to be seen again.
As the company grows, though, so does the need to consult with an attorney. Customers don’t pay, vendor relationships get complicated, new or revised laws impact the way the business operates, the office lease is expiring and the company has new requirements it would like to negotiate with the landlord. These are just a few examples of issues I work on for my clients who retain me as their outside general counsel.
My broader role as outside general counsel is to remove the burden of dealing with legal issues from people inside the company whose talents should be put into helping the company succeed, not deciphering the morass of California law. I act as the orchestrator for the company’s legal needs. I perform tasks within my skillset, identify other needs and retain other attorneys and professionals to fulfill those needs.
Many lawyers are reticent to refer their clients to other attorneys, for fear they will lose the client. Instead, they try and handle everything, even if it is an unfamiliar area. I focus on building long term relationships with my clients based on trust and loyalty. My clients know that I want them to get high quality representation for all areas of their business. I do most work myself, but if I have a colleague who specializes in an area of law I am unfamiliar with, I want to bring in that person to make sure we get the right answers. I then work with those attorneys (and other professionals) to keep consistency within the company and across various projects. Clients appreciate this because they know I am looking out for them, not me and that they get high quality representation on all matters from a team of experts.