Why Use an Outsourced Legal Department? (V)
By Jonathan Wachs, Offit Kurman
Why should an organization consider using an outsourced legal department? This series takes a look at some of the most compelling reasons to engage a third-party lawyer or team of lawyers to meet your legal needs. Part V.
Reason #5 to Consider an Outsourced Legal Department: Flexibility
“Inevitably, outcomes for new ventures fall short of expectations. If anything, new ventures are reliably unpredictable.” So wrote bestselling author and Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business professor Vijay Govindarajan in a recent column for Fast Company. Any entrepreneur or executive at an organization in the midst of growth would agree. Unpredictability is one of the fundamental challenges associated with the launch of a new business, and while you can try to learn about and prepare for market volatility in theory, nothing compares to experiencing it firsthand.
Strapped for cash and uncertain what the future will bring, leaders of small and medium-sized companies frequently decide against hiring an attorney — that is, until a crisis has already occurred. Whether brought on as in-house counsel or on an independent basis, law practitioners typically join growing companies in response to claims, audits, conflicts, and other legal issues rather than in advance of those issues. At that point, matters like compliance, contract negotiations, and asset protection become urgent and costly. As a result, unproductive misconceptions persist: legal services are unaffordable, and there’s no way to plan ahead for them.
An outsourced legal department is a flexible, cost-effective, and innovative way to prepare for the unpredictable. This type of arrangement gives you a high degree of control over your legal services and customization options early on in a new venture, so you can rapidly change course in response to market forces, customer demands, and the realities of doing business.
An outsourced legal department may be an ideal option for an organization that is
- launching new products or services;
- implementing a new organizational structure;
- expanding, downsizing, or relocating;
- working alongside suppliers or contractors for the first time;
- or responding to regulatory changes.
The list above is only a sampling of the events during a business’s life cycle that may necessitate on-demand legal assistance. An outsourced legal department can supplement or fill in for existing in-house counsel, providing your organization with comprehensive legal knowledge no sooner or later than you need it, not as a fixed-cost full-time engagement but at a price suitable to emerging businesses.
Members of an outsourced legal department are prepared to work on special projects, assist during peak workflow periods, and maintain continuity in the wake of staff departures. Through programs like Offit Kurman’s New Paradigm Counsel®, legal providers conduct on-site meetings and operate at your office location, gaining insight into your company culture and your unique, time-sensitive objectives. This level of familiarity provides attorneys with the freedom to address questions as they arise and offer ad-hoc legal guidance on issues that do not require a formal review. Consequently, you can resolve uncertainties during transactions, project development milestones, and other everyday activities in an efficient manner.
While you may not be able to forecast every sudden opportunity or setback, an outsourced legal department helps you avoid the uncertainty surrounding hiring and vetting the right legal partner for the job. When the nature or scope of your legal needs change, you have access to a roster of attorneys with relevant experience as well as the option to revise or terminate your customized service plan immediately.
Offit Kurman currently employs over 125 attorneys. As a whole, our firm provides extensive legal services ranging from tax guidance to cybersecurity to intellectual property and more. With New Paradigm Counsel®, you can draw on our extensive knowledge base to develop a strategy tailored to your business and industry. Our clients use our advice, experience, and representation to secure an advantage over their competitors. Outcomes for new ventures may not always meet expectations, but with qualified, adjustable legal support on your side, you can begin to set achievable expectations — and, in fact, exceed them.
To meet the needs of today’s dynamic organizations, Offit Kurman has developed New Paradigm Counsel®: a service offering through which Offit Kurman develops and delivers outsourced, customized legal departments. For less than the cost of a traditional full-time senior legal employee, New Paradigm Counsel provides clients with access to Offit Kurman’s comprehensive suite of legal services.
To read past articles in this series click one of the following:
Jonathan WachsOffit Kurman, Baltimore, United States
Jonathan Wachs provides strategic counseling and operational advice to clients in the areas of intellectual property, commercial transactions and outsourced legal departments. As head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group, Mr. Wachs works closely with clients to develop, register, analyze, enforce, and transfer intellectual property assets in a customized, cost-efficient, and highly effective manner. Additionally, he conducts intellectual property audits through which clients learn the nature and value of their intellectual property assets and the steps needed to protect such assets from misappropriation or dilution. As a business lawyer, he has successfully negotiated and completed several multimillion dollar business transactions and has served as general counsel to several small and midsize businesses and organizations in various industries and professions. He also manages a blog about intellectual property issues, Friday Factoids. Mr. Wachs co-manages New Paradigm Counsel, a service through which Offit Kurman delivers customized, comprehensive and cost-effective outsourced legal departments. Through New Paradigm Counsel, Jon served as outsourced general counsel for a government contractor, a large printing business, a payment processing company and an identity theft restoration business.
Published: August 2016 l Photo: Rawpixel.com - Fotolia.com