For businesses, navigating the intricate legal terrain can be a difficult endeavor and most businesses can not afford dedicated in house counsel. But hiring a business law firm as your outside general counsel is an excellent and cost effective option to helping with all your legal issues.

Having experienced and knowledgeable outside general counsel can provide much needed clarity on regulations and help you feel secure in your business decisions. In this blog, we will outline the role an outside general counsel plays, as well as pinpoint when assistance from such reliable law firms like Davis Business Law should be used.

Key Takeaways

  • Outside general counsel provide businesses with legal support without the cost and commitment of an in-house counsel.

  • Davis Business Law offers experienced team-based legal services tailored to a business’ specific needs, providing comprehensive outside general counsel assistance to reduce risk and help maximize business growth.

  • When comparing outside general counsel vs in house counsel, consider costs, access to experience & flexibility when selecting the right partner for your business’s needs.

Understanding the Role of Outside General Counsel

Davis Business Law's outside general counsel attorneys understand small business owners

Most businesses need reliable legal advice and need a partner that gets to know them and how they work. They can use the benefits of partnering with an outside general counsel team to access a skilled and experienced group of attorneys who care about their clients’ successes.

This external counsel arrangement does not need full-time engagement, offering continual guidance on regulatory concerns, compliance matters, and other services comparable to what is provided by an in-house counsel. Hiring such a team provides businesses with support for their various needs without the costs of having dedicated in-house staff.

Outside general counsel bring extensive experience to businesses to guide their regulatory compliance and support them with legal advice. They can provide services such as research and analysis of business issues, such as contract review and negotiation (especially commercial contracts), guidance on employment laws, and business growth risk management. By providing strategic insight into issues or disputes that could potentially arise, outside general counsel helps companies identify key risks associated with any actions contemplated by the company ahead of time.

Customized Legal Solutions

Davis Business Law offers experienced, team-based legal help with the aim of providing cost effective solutions for businesses requiring outside general counsel services. This includes writing up contracts and other legal documents, supporting all sizes of companies including early stage startups that do not have access to an in-house attorney.

Outside general counsel allows business owners more flexibility and customization to provide tailored, on demand, support, while still working to have predictable and manageable legal costs.

The Davis Business Law Approach

teamwork, cooperation, brainstorming

Davis Business Law provides an effective and cost-efficient alternative for businesses seeking outside general counsel services. Their team is well-versed in various areas of business law while offering comprehensive legal guidance to help businesses take preventive steps towards addressing potential issues before they become major problems. The company prides itself on providing experienced teams who will work with firms proactively, delivering solutions that limit risk exposure.

Experienced Team, Proactive Legal Support, and Budget-Friendly Options

Davis Business Law is staffed with attorneys who possess a variety of useful backgrounds, including experience as business owners themselves, or working for very large law firms, or even as in-house general counsel. Their legal services focus entirely business matters, such as business and commercial litigation, employment disputes, contracts, liens, start-up issues and guidance, and construction work.

Davis Business Law works for companies of varying sizes throughout the stages of management processes. Companies benefit from their experience when taking advantage of Davis Business Law’s deep bench knowledge.

Businesses have a lot to gain by undergoing regular operational audits and legal checks, such as being able to evaluate potential risks and hone in on legal compliance. Davis Business Law provides outside general counsel service that acts as a trusted advisor helping companies proactively address their legal needs.

Outside general counsel can provide guidance on everything from contracts and agreements to training and education related to any changes in laws or regulations. The support also includes advising about how best for business owners to mitigate potential risks while simultaneously recognizing opportunities.

Davis Business Law offers a variety of legal services for businesses, including drafting agreements and providing corporate governance advice. The firm also provides general counsel with litigation experience to their clients, when vigorous courtroom advocacy is necessary.

Davis Business Law has outside general counsel packages for businesses and provides cost-effective options by offering transparent fees, so our business customers have a clear understanding of the costs before committing to any service. This transparency and partnering relationship makes it easier for business clients to access more affordable solutions while still receiving quality counsel from experienced lawyers.

When to Seek Outside General Counsel

Small businesses, often operating with limited resources, face a myriad of legal challenges that can significantly impact their growth trajectory. The decision to partner with outside general counsel becomes crucial at certain junctures, offering a strategic advantage and mitigating potential risks.

Engaging outside general counsel is particularly beneficial when financial constraints make maintaining a full-time, in-house legal team impractical. Small businesses may find it challenging to justify the ongoing expenses associated with internal legal expertise, especially during periods of lower legal activity.

In such instances, partnering with outside general counsel provides a cost-effective solution. This arrangement allows businesses to access seasoned legal professionals without incurring the fixed costs of a permanent legal staff, making legal expertise more attainable.

The comprehensive legal guidance provided by outside general counsel proves invaluable for small businesses navigating a complex legal landscape. Unlike sporadic engagements with external law firms, outside general counsel operates as an integral part of the business team. This closeness facilitates a deep understanding of the company’s operations, goals, and challenges, enabling them to provide nuanced and tailored legal advice.

Whether it’s contract negotiations, compliance matters, or employment disputes, the ongoing relationship allows for timely and relevant legal support.

Cost-effective legal support is a critical factor for small businesses, and the flexibility in billing structures offered by outside general counsel addresses this need. Small enterprises may opt for hourly rates, retainer agreements, or project-based fees, aligning legal expenses with their financial capabilities.

This flexibility not only helps manage costs more effectively but also provides a predictable framework for budgeting legal services. It’s a pragmatic approach that allows small businesses to access legal expertise without compromising their financial stability.

Proactive risk management is another key area where outside general counsel excels. Small businesses are often vulnerable to legal risks that, if unaddressed, can lead to financial losses and operational disruptions. Outside general counsel conducts legal audits, reviews contracts, and assesses compliance on an ongoing basis.

This proactive approach identifies potential pitfalls before they escalate, fostering a culture of risk awareness within the business. By mitigating legal risks in advance, outside general counsel acts as a protective shield, safeguarding the business from potential liabilities.

The personalized and collaborative nature of the relationship between a small business and its outside general counsel contributes significantly to efficient conflict resolution. Disputes are an inevitable part of business operations, and having a legal partner familiar with the company’s nuances facilitates quicker and more effective conflict resolution.

This familiarity minimizes the learning curve associated with engaging external law firms on a case-by-case basis, ensuring a more seamless process when challenges arise.

Flexibility in legal services is particularly advantageous for small businesses with fluctuating legal needs. The ability to scale legal support up or down based on the business’s requirements ensures optimal resource utilization.

During periods of growth, contraction, or when facing specific legal challenges requiring specialized expertise, outside general counsel provides the adaptability necessary for small businesses to navigate their unique legal landscape.

Strategic legal planning is an integral aspect of sustainable business growth, and outside general counsel plays a pivotal role in this regard. By aligning legal strategies with business goals, they contribute to long-term stability and growth. The ongoing collaboration allows outside general counsel to anticipate legal challenges, ensuring that legal considerations are an integral part of the business’s strategic planning process.

In conclusion, the decision for a small business to partner with outside general counsel is a strategic one, driven by practical considerations and a need for comprehensive legal support. This collaboration provides access to expertise, fosters proactive risk management, and ensures cost-effective legal solutions. Small businesses benefit from the personalized and ongoing nature of the relationship, where legal advice is not just a reactive service but an integral part of strategic planning for sustained growth.

Comparing Outside General Counsel and In-House Counsel

For many small businesses, the idea of hiring in-house counsel or corporate counsel may seem like a logical step, but upon closer examination, it often doesn’t make practical or financial sense. Instead, opting to partner with outside general counsel can offer a more strategic and cost-effective approach to addressing legal needs.

Cost-effectiveness, Access to Experience, Flexibility and Scalability

Maintaining a full-time, corporate counsel legal team can be financially burdensome for small businesses. The costs associated with salaries, benefits, office space, and ongoing training can quickly add up. Small enterprises, which may not have a constant stream of legal matters, find it challenging to justify such fixed expenses. Partnering with outside general counsel allows businesses to access legal expertise when needed without bearing the overhead costs of a permanent legal staff.

In-house counsel may lack the breadth of expertise required for the diverse legal challenges that small businesses face. Small enterprises often encounter a range of legal issues, from commercial contracts and compliance to employment matters and intellectual property concerns. An in-house attorney may not have the experience in all these areas, leading to the need for external legal support anyway.

Conversely, outside general counsel typically consists of a team with diverse skills, offering a comprehensive legal solution that aligns with the varied needs of each client’s business.

The nature of legal work for small businesses tends to be project-based or tied to specific needs rather than requiring continuous, full-time attention. In-house counsel may find themselves with periods of underutilization, leading to inefficient resource allocation. In contrast, partnering with outside general counsel allows businesses to scale legal support according to their fluctuating needs. This flexibility ensures that the business only pays for the legal services it requires, making it a more cost-efficient model.

In-house general counsel may struggle with maintaining objectivity when dealing with internal matters, particularly in smaller teams where personal relationships can be more pronounced. External general counsel, by virtue of their independent position, can offer a more impartial perspective. This objectivity is crucial when navigating sensitive issues such as employee disputes or internal investigations, providing a level of neutrality that may be challenging for in-house attorneys to achieve.

For small businesses, the decision to hire in-house counsel may not align with their operational and financial realities. Opting to partner with outside general counsel offers a more adaptable, cost-effective, and comprehensive solution to address legal needs. This approach ensures that small businesses can access the expertise they require, precisely when they need it, without the burden of maintaining a full-time, in-house legal team.

Selecting and Implementing Outside Counsel Services

When selecting outside counsel, small businesses should embark on a thoughtful and strategic process to ensure that the chosen legal partner aligns seamlessly with their unique needs and business objectives.

Firstly, understanding the specific legal needs of the business is paramount. Before initiating the selection process, small businesses and middle market businesses should conduct a thorough internal assessment to identify the areas where legal support is most critical. This could include implementing strategies, drafting contracts, compliance issues, employment matters, or industry-specific regulations.

Next, it’s crucial to evaluate potential outside general counsel candidates. Different legal firms may have varying strengths, so finding a partner with experience in the relevant areas is essential.

Building a strong rapport and ensuring compatibility in communication styles is equally vital. A successful partnership with outside general counsel requires effective communication and a shared understanding of the business’s values and goals. Small businesses should engage in open and candid discussions during the selection process to gauge how well the legal partner aligns with the company culture.

Financial considerations should also play a role in the decision-making process. Small businesses often have budget constraints, and transparency about costs ensures that there are no surprises and that the partnership remains financially sustainable for the business.

Furthermore, small businesses should inquire about the approach to proactive legal support. Effective outside general counsel should not only respond to legal issues as they arise but also work proactively to identify and mitigate potential risks. Understanding how a legal partner approaches risk management and preventive legal strategies is key to ensuring long-term success and protection for the business.


Small businesses benefit from hiring a business law firm with outside general counsel as it provides access to legal experience without the overhead of a full-time legal team. This cost-effective solution offers tailored advice on contracts, compliance, employment matters, and more. The flexibility in billing structures, such as hourly rates or retainer agreements, allows businesses to manage costs efficiently.

Outside general counsel acts as a proactive partner, identifying and mitigating legal risks to protect the business. Their personalized and ongoing support fosters a deeper understanding of the company’s operations, making them invaluable for strategic legal guidance and preventing issues before they escalate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should a small business consider hiring outside general counsel for its legal issues?

Small businesses often lack the resources for a full-time, in-house legal team. Hiring outside general counsel allows access to legal expertise without the cost of a permanent staff. This arrangement provides tailored legal advice, risk management, and compliance assistance on a need-basis, helping the business navigate complex legal issues efficiently.

How does the cost structure work for outside general counsel legal services?

Outside general counsel typically offers flexibility in billing structures. Common options include hourly rates, retainer agreements, or project-based fees. This flexibility allows small businesses to choose a cost model that aligns with their budget and specific legal needs, making legal services more accessible and predictable.

What tasks can outside general counsel assist with in a small business?

You want your outside general counsel to understand your business’s big picture perspective. With that in mind, good outside general counsel can handle a range of legal matters, including contract drafting and review, compliance with industry regulations, employment law issues, intellectual property protection, and dispute resolution. They serve as a comprehensive legal resource, providing proactive guidance to prevent legal issues and swift resolution when challenges arise.

How can outside general counsel help with risk management for a small business?

Outside general counsel plays a crucial role in identifying and mitigating legal risks. They conduct legal audits to assess compliance, review contracts to minimize exposure, and provide ongoing advice to navigate potential legal pitfalls. By proactively addressing risks, outside general counsel helps protect the business and minimize the likelihood of costly legal disputes.

What is the difference between partnering with outside general counsel and just hiring traditional law firms when you need them?

While traditional law firms may be engaged on an as needed basis, outside general counsel operates more like an extended team member, intimately understanding the business’s operations and goals. This relationship allows for more personalized and preventive legal advice. Unlike traditional law firms, outside general counsel focuses on a holistic understanding of the business, making them well-suited for ongoing legal needs and strategic planning.