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What is Outside General Counsel

As most small and even medium size business owners know, litigation and legal issues are not just issues faced by the large companies.  While larger companies may have entire legal departments, small business owners are often left dealing with legal problems by themselves. This often takes precious time away from the small business owner from managing and growing their business. Even if the small business owner has attorneys to handle legal matters, they often faced with having to spend a great deal of time managing these matters. For example, a business owner may utilize an attorney for employment issues, a different attorney for contract/collection issues, and yet another attorney for litigation matters. If there are many issues going on at the same time, the business owner’s time will mostly be consumed by the communicating with each attorney and looking for old documents.

A general counsel arrangement with one particular attorney may be able to free up a lot of the time of the business owner. General counsel can generally perform some of the more typical tasks that a business may need (i.e. provide general legal advice, contract review, etc). However, a general counsel can also manage incoming legal matters, by finding and delegating to counsel who specialize in a particular area of law (i.e. employment attorney, real estate attorney, insurance attorney, etc.). General counsel can also serve as a middleman between these other attorneys and the business owner, by managing these legal matters on a day-to-day basis. The owner’s time can then be better spent on managing the business.

There are generally 2 types of general counsel: “in-house (or corporate) counsel”, or “out-side general counsel”. In house counsel is an employee of the company and works exclusively for that company.  For most small businesses, an in-house counsel arrangement may be be impractical. Most small businesses do not have enough legal issues to justify the costs of hiring a full time salaried in-house counsel. At Fremstad Law however, we focus on providing outside general counsel services and can do so on an hourly, fixed fee, or retainer basis.  Please contact us at 701-478-7620 so that we can begin the process of learning about your business and help you determine what type of relationship is best for your company.


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