Bringing it In-House: What to Look For When Hiring a General Counsel?

What To Look For When Hiring a General Counsel

Founders, Presidents, and CEOs of startups, small businesses, and mid-market companies have all pondered the question: when is the proper time to hire general counsel? Founders, presidents, and CEOs, on the other hand, do not hold their positions by finding easy solutions; rather, they stay their positions by discovering the best answers. As conditions change, the greatest responses may be situational. As a result, wise CEOs must regularly consider when and how to hire their first in-house legal counsel.

Legal expertise is readily available, which presents both obstacles and possibilities. Whether you are the CEO of a high-growth startup or a midsized technology enterprise, finding the correct legal leader will have long-term consequences for your company.

It’s a choice you’ll want to make right now. The most significant advantage of having an in-house attorney is that they will become an expert in all aspects of your company, allowing them to give more effective legal advice as well as (sometimes) unique remarks on critical business issues. It is always a good idea to consult with top-level C-suite executive search providers who offer assistance in hiring a general counsel.

Do You Need A General Counsel in Your Company?

Hiring legal firms may be an effective approach for a corporation to decrease risks, and most organizations continue to utilize law firms even after hiring in-house counsel. However, having in-house counsel has significant advantages.

First, as the number of legal work increases, in-house counsel may give considerable cost savings in total legal compliance support expenses because a corporation pays for legal assistance through an annual salary at a considerably lower hourly rate than a typical law firm attorney.

Second, in-house counsel is more familiar with such incidents, may learn of them sooner than outside counsel, and can limit their impact on the business through faster reaction and, in certain cases, early application of attorney-client privilege.

Third, in-house counsel gets more familiar with the company, its strategy, its employees, its peculiarities and blind spots, and is better positioned to solve issues before they become problems.

Get advice from C-suite recruitment firms or C-suite executive search agencies that specialize in hiring for top-level legal positions to get a detailed assessment of the various scenarios in which having an in-house general counsel could make a huge difference. We have outlined some reasons.

Consider giving work to in house counsel when:

  1. Your out-of-pocket legal fees exceed your planned amount.
  2. Outsourcing legal duties in the same specialized practice areas is common.
  3. You have more access to legal technology than your vendors do.
  4. Your outside counsel is having problems comprehending your company’s operations.

Consider shifting work to outside counsel when:

  1. You require greater knowledge of a specific, high-risk situation.
  2. Your need for legal counsel is limited.

The Options When It Comes To Hiring In-House General Counsel

1) Part-Time General Counsel:

Legal and other general administration expenditures are at an all-time high due to our litigious atmosphere and escalating regulatory obligations across sectors. You are, nonetheless, expected to save money. There is a strong tool that can assist you in reducing your company’s liability and legal expenditures while also positively improving your bottom line. One such instrument is a part-time in-house general counsel.

So, what else can a part-time, in-house general counsel do for our company:

1) Conduct yearly legal risk assessments and explain in plain, straightforward English the nature and probable consequences of identified risks.
2) Use real-world experience and data to assess the severity of the risks, and
3) help you prioritize your tasks. A legal strategy can then be developed depending on your priorities.

Another benefit of employing a part-time in-house general counsel is: Construct a funnel to compress the legal needs of your company’s divisions. Channeling legal needs through an on-site attorney guarantees that concerns are properly stated and that an examination is carried out to differentiate between actual legal difficulties and commercial barriers.

The best way to find the best-suited attorney for your company is to consult with C-suite executive search firms or C-suite recruitment agencies that have specialized experience in hiring general counsels for top positions. They would be able to find candidates who would fit in with your C-suite culture while having a great deal of experience in your industry.

2) Full-Time General Counsel:

A lawyer has the potential to become a commercial decision-maker. In-house attorneys perform business functions in several ways. First, the lawyer is generally in control of vendor relationships to the extent that the lawyer supervises outside counsel.

Second, the in-house lawyer usually fills any holes in business decisions that aren’t owned by other members of the organization. Finally, the in-house legal department may work with “business” staff to make commercial decisions. In-house counsel, on the other hand, is typically included on the execution team.

In-house counsel may be significantly more proactive than outside counsel since they are a member of the team. They may voice their issues early on and see them through to completion.

3) In-House General Counsel’s

interests are better aligned with the company’s aims. Even with developments in alternative charging and long-term multi-iteration relationships between businesses and firms, outside counsel’s interests may not always align with those of the client.

After all, the law firm’s revenues must be managed, which usually collide with the client’s profit maximization. This happens all the time in customer/vendor relationships. There are several areas of potential conflicts of interest between the organization and the client, from hourly billing rates to conditions affecting dispute resolution.

Experience, Skills, and Knowledge To Look For When Hiring A General Counsel

1. Corporate Governance:

The role of corporate secretary (or company secretary) in the twenty-first century has evolved beyond its initial, mostly administrative purpose to include a larger emphasis on corporate governance. Compliance has grown in importance and importance as a substantial risk problem for every organization.

Compliance with regulatory requirements involves expertise with the legal and regulatory framework, as well as ensuring that enterprises operate within that framework. This is the environment in which a General Counsel works, and legal expertise is routinely used in each of these three distinct areas.

2. Contract And Agreements:

In many companies, there are hundreds of agreements entered into over the course of a year. Different types of contracts and agreements need to be carefully framed, checked, and made tight from a legal perspective. They need to be updated and revised based on changes in legislation, rules, trade regulations, industry norms, etc. If your company is spending a huge amount of money on external legal counsel, advice, and other services for contracts and agreements, it is time to consider hiring a general counsel in an in-house role

3. Public Relations And Liasioning:

As public relations professionals, we are all aware of the power of social media and the impact that unfavorable internet reviews can have. While social media may be an extremely important tool for raising awareness and visibility, it can often feel like a necessary evil that we must endure for the sake of transparency and real-time participation.

A Public Relations Manager will take up the following duties and responsibilities:

Managing and supervising the organization’s public relations (PR) staff and all of their operations
Creating and implementing public relations plans for the company’s goods and services, including a crisis management plan
Creating and implementing organizational public relations strategy for corporate events
Creating and maintaining a public relations plan, including finances, schedules, and so on.

Legal Activities Typical To Your Company and Markets – There are at least three categories of experience to consider when hiring a company’s first in-house counsel.

Intelligence in Business
Legal expertise.
Worked as an in-house attorney.

Another crucial factor to examine is proactive vs. reactive behavior. Because in-house attorneys work within the organization, they are better positioned to anticipate and handle legal issues before they become critical. Even if an issue arises, in-house counsel is better positioned to handle it quickly and efficiently.

4. Employment and HR Legal Issues:

Here are a few reasons out of a hundred about employment law considerations for hiring a general counsel in an in-house role. If your company has a multicultural, multi-industry, and international workforce and you need to invest a lot in managing, adhering to, and staying updated about the changing labor and employment law, it is wiser to consider hiring a general counsel in an in-house position.

Whether it is about the Family and Medical Absence Act (“FMLA”) to provide qualified employees with up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave due to substantial medical challenges or about non-compete and secrecy clauses, the legal aspects are often the difference between winning and losing a lawsuit.


Businesses hire legal assistance to decrease their risks. Inadvertent disobedience of rules and regulations can subject businesses to severe financial risk in the form of penalties or third-party damages. Without a thorough grasp of the rules that govern a company’s or industry’s operations, strategic faults in business models can result in a loss of market share or unexpected increases in expenses, jeopardizing long-term profitability.

Alliance Recruitment Agency

Alliance Recruitment Agency was established to assist businesses in developing a workforce of highly efficient and competent experts, as well as to benefit people by opening up new vistas of career opportunities.

We excel in managing the manpower and recruitment needs of companies that fulfill the goal and vision the businesses are founded on. Our agency operates in very dynamic and diversified global markets.

We have a network of recruiters for different industries across Indian cities, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai. Mumbai, and Pune. We also have a strong global presence that covers the US, Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the UK, many EU countries, South Asia, some African countries, and Australia.

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