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   Frequently Asked Questions
 
 

What is an “outside” general counsel ? isn’t that the same as a solo legal practice ?

Solo practitioner brings to mind lawyers like Abraham Lincoln: small town generalists who draft wills and contracts, collect debt, and handle the occasional criminal case. Such lawyers still exist, particularly in rural areas, but they mostly serve the needs of individuals, not sophisticated organizations. For the most part, gone are the days when solo lawyers offered generalized representation to a cross-section of local clients.

Today’s legal landscape is dominated by law firms, and with good reason. Simple legal issues are relatively rare, while complexity and uncertainty are the norm. That means the client’s first task is understanding when and how to utilize specialized legal expertise. Businesses and organizations without in-house counsel may find this kind of self-diagnosis especially difficult.

The solution is an “outside GC” – a seasoned lawyer with extensive law firm and in-house experience, who can provide guidance on a range of matters. This delivers all the benefits of a regular GC, without the expense and commitment of a full-time executive. And when specialized skills or knowledge are required, an outside GC helps the client select and manage outside counsel.

I’m still a little unclear on how your role differs from a regular lawyer. How, exactly, do you bring value to our organization ?

That depends on your business, how your legal affairs are currently managed, the nature and volume of legal work, and whether you have in-house legal staff or regular outside counsel. Some clients want basic advice on how to reduce legal costs or improve results. For others, a bottom-up legal review of policies, procedures and operations may be in order. Many businesses without regular counsel delegate legal issues to their finance, human resources or risk departments. While these arrangements may suffice for routine matters, they can backfire when hidden problems go undetected.   
  
KLC is both an alternative to a full-time general counsel and a supplemental tool to reduce your dependence on outside counsel. KLC is not a substitute for the specialized skills and resources of law firms, but it can help clients leverage those resources more efficiently.  The only inherent downside to law firms is their business model: partners billing higher rates at lower volume, and armies of associates and support staff billing lower rates at higher volume. This structure makes sense for large or complex matters, but it also means that client needs are molded to fit the law firm process. Clients without in-house counsel are especially prone to overdependence on costly law firms.    

KLC is for clients who want better value and control over their legal affairs. Neither a law firm nor a conventional solo practice, KLC has the experience and autonomy to find value alternatives and improve almost any client’s legal bottom line.

I understand how KLC is different from outside counsel. We already have in-house counsel, what would KLC do that they couldn’t ?

In-house lawyers oversee a wide range of discrete legal matters, and spend much of their time fielding and responding to inquiries and requests from within their organization. They depend on outside law firms, and may find it awkward to challenge what those firms do and how they bill.

An independent legal consultant can act as an intermediary between the two, and ensure that outside counsel is utilized in the most efficient and value-added manner.  KLC is also an on-call alternative to outside counsel for special projects or tasks that may tax the resources of in-house counsel.

Does KLC work with start-ups ?

Yes, although paradoxically start-ups sometimes need more specialized legal advice than established businesses. KLC can help start-ups map out their legal needs and serve as a cost-effective outside general counsel. If warranted, KLC can also help find the right outside counsel to meet specialized needs.

What are your fees ?

Unlike law firms, KLC has no fixed fee structure. KLC is compensated according to value created, not  hours billed. The first step is a free consultation to discuss your business or organization, and how your legal needs are being managed. If a role is identified for KLC, you will receive a customized plan with a detailed description of services, benchmarks, metrics and fees. 





 

Does KLC work with start-ups ?

Yes, although paradoxically start-ups sometimes need more specialized legal advice than established businesses. KLC can help start-ups map out their legal needs and serve as a cost-effective outside general counsel. If warranted, KLC can also help find the right outside counsel to meet specialized needs.


  © 2009 Kaplitt Legal Consulting