“Should You Hire a Fractional General Counsel” by Attorney Adam Birch in Tampa Bay Business Journal

July 6, 2021

1. What is a fractional general counsel program?

Fractional general counsel (FGC) programs provide the legal help your company needs, when it needs it, all for a fixed monthly fee. The monthly-fee structure enables clients to integrate legal fees more easily into their budget, proactively seek legal counsel when they need it, and allows their legal advisors to invest the necessary time on tasks they believe is in the best interest of their clients. As a result, this fosters a high trust relationship – as legal advisors get to know the clients they serve inside and out, their clients ultimately feel they have access to a trusted in-house attorney as if they are right down the hall for a fraction of the cost.

2. What problems does a fractional general counsel solve?

Any company can and will face legal issues which may need the assistance of legal counsel; however, companies are often hesitant to pick up the phone to call an attorney for fear of the billable hour framework provided at most law firms. Instead of reaching out, those companies find themselves engaging in self-help. They ask themselves questions such as, “Is this attorney going to bill me when I call just to diagnose the issue?” Or consider, “Maybe I can pull a form from the internet?” Unfortunately though, when a company waits to handle a situation that arises in its business or engages in such self-help it could become even more costly.

FGC programs solve this problem by recognizing that today’s clients require more than just the billable hour. Having a sole focus on the billable hour can create an inherent conflict if it is driving the attorney’s representation. A good FGC will provide a risk- and value-based approach tailored to what each client is looking for while reducing the legal expenses incurred.

3. How do fractional general counsel programs work?

Legal advisors serving as FGCs strive to understand the overall goals of their client’s business. After understanding what those goals are, FGCs curate specific services to their clients which meet their legal needs. The key focus in doing so is prioritizing what is truly important to each client as this is not a one-off transaction; this is a relationship. The FGC is there to assist alongside their clients to not only understand their businesses, but more importantly, provide effective legal services on an as-needed, on-demand basis.

Integral to this curating process is pricing for legal fees. FGCs can provide constant flexibility with respect to their client’s budget. This provides the client with an overall feeling of control over such expenditures. Instead of simply paying a bill each month based on billable hours, FGCs and their clients forecast the budget for legal needs while prioritizing the most important aspects of growth as a business. This provides clients with the ability to have a continuous conversation with their trusted legal advisor about the actual value being delivered as it enables attorneys to assess what their client’s legal needs are monthly.

4. What kind of clients does a fractional general counsel program serve?

Any company at any stage of the growth process – including startups, small growth-based companies and even larger companies looking to build out their legal departments with outside assistance. The value behind this type of service is very similar to any subscription-based service a company utilizes in its day-to-day business. It is never too early nor never too late for a company to become involved. An FGC assists clients’ growth strategy side by side as this makes the practice of law both exciting and rewarding.

5. What are the overall benefits of the fractional general counsel program?

  • Avoid overhead and employment costs associated with in-house counsel and corporate law departments.
  • Flexible cost plans that allow companies to budget for legal services.
  • Affordable legal counsel from an attorney who knows and understands you and your business.
  • Discounted legal services for services outside of the plan.
  • Lower fees for services based on long-term contracts.
  • Timely access to an attorney for time-sensitive matters.
  • It allows owners and managers to focus on operations instead of legal and compliance issues.
  • Proactive legal counsel can avoid mistakes and problems that increase risk of liability.
  • A lawyer to manage crises and provide sound legal advice on all business matters not specifically legal matters.

Older Lundy Koch & Martino’s fractional general counsel program combines the best aspects of in-house and outside general counsel while helping clients reduce costs and enhance the attorney-client relationship. Older Lundy Koch & Martino attorneys offer a fresh and innovative approach to the practice of law, with their skills and interdisciplinary expertise, they deliver extraordinary service and results. To set up a free consultation with Mr. Birch, visit https://www.olalaw.com/contact-us/

Older Lundy Koch & Martino, founded in 2003, is a full-service law firm with offices in Tampa, Clearwater, Dade City, Trinity and Wesley Chapel. No matter what the issue is, Older Lundy Koch & Martino attorneys will have a precise understanding of the client’s needs and will deliver customized solutions.

Originally published in Tampa Bay Business Journal July 2021:  https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2021/07/01/should-you-hire-a-fractional-general-counsel.html

Adam Birch brings his extensive experience as a CPA and expertise in corporate tax law to Older Lundy Koch & Martino’s fractional general counsel program. To learn more about Mr. Birch, visit https://www.olalaw.com/meet-our-team/adam-birch/

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