I am going to preface your reading of this blog post: It is selfish in nature. I hate reading a blog thinking I might get something out of it, only to find out that it is a long sales pitch for the business posting it. While this post isn’t purely that, it is not our typical post… so prepare yourself.
Often when we are out networking or in our marketing materials we describe our practice as one that provides general counsel to West Michigan small businesses. What does that mean? What does general counsel do? And why can’t your small business just wait until it needs a business attorney before contacting The Business Law Group?
General counsel is something that is commonly associated with big business. “XYZ Corp. has a team of lawyers sitting in its corporate office waiting to jump on any legal need.” While this is the common perception, general counsel are much more proactive than reactive and are generally not waiting around to “jump” on anything (maybe donuts in the break room).
General counsel’s duties vary widely based on what the business needs. General counsel do everything from contract drafting and review, to ensuring the business is in compliance with the law, to assisting with human resource issues, to quarterbacking litigation, to assisting in negotiations, to risk management and so much more. These are all vital to ensuring that a business runs as close to as expected as possible.
The role of general counsel was born out of simple economics. I once met with general counsel for a large West Michigan business. They had a team of four business attorney’s (and likely needed more because they were overworked). But hypothetically, if all four worked 40 hours a week and charged $200 per hour (and that is probably on the conservative side of what they would bill if they were in private practice), that would equate to over $1.5 million in attorney fees. It makes much more economic sense to pay all four an average of $150,000 annually and cut a big expense from the budget.
Your West Michigan business is no different than your large counterparts. You want your business to operate as closely to “as planned” as possible. You need to act in compliance with the law. You want advantageous contracts. You need someone that you can bounce ideas off of that has that business law point of view. You need general counsel.
Waiting until you need a business lawyer is not a good idea. Basically you are putting off paying for what you should purchase now. The issue becomes that later is probably going to cost more and probably going to mean your business attorney is not going to have enough maneuverability because of time constraints to put your Grand Rapids business in the best position possible.
Hiring general counsel is all about being proactive rather than reactive. Proactive not only puts your business in a better position but it much more financially beneficial to your business’ legal budget. Your business might not have $1.5 million in legal fees but if you can cut any fees by nearly 70%, why wouldn’t you want to be proactive?
Here comes the pitch so be prepared… The Business Law Group does work on a flat fee basis and offers annual plans that allow your business to have general counsel that fits what your business needs. We take the question mark out of what your business needs to budget for its legal needs (and you know you have them). Your West Michigan business might not need a four person team for 40 hours each a week but The Business Law Group provides you the same service scaled down to your business’ needs. You can contact The Business Law Group here.
There. Now I am done with that. Expect unselfish blogs going forward. Thank you for the time.