One of the biggest, yet unforeseen challenges growing businesses face is knowing if and when it’s the right time to start building their company’s own in-house legal team.
It’s a big step, and while outsourcing your company’s legal needs feels less stressful and generally ticks all boxes, developing an in-house legal team can feel an overwhelming prospect.
So why make the change?
As with everything, it comes down to dollars and cents. Once a business is big enough, developing an in-house legal team saves the company money. Typically, an in-house team costs less per unit of time than the hourly rates of external firms. And as we also know that time is money, it’s also good to know that, as a business leader, once you move your legal counsel in-house, you’ll regain valuable time that was previously taken up with grappling daily legal issues and communicating with outside counsel.
Of course, it might be that some niche issues still need to be outsourced to external legal counsel, but the difference is that now it’s not your responsibility to oversee the situation – that’s the job of your newly appointed General Counsel.
The role of in-house legal counsel has broadened in recent years, meaning if you hire the right people, you’ll be benefiting from much more than their expert knowledge of the law. You’ll gain a partner who can assist in major business decisions by offering their unique point of view, and they can also be a useful advisor when it comes to strategic business planning.
If your in-house team has been set up successfully, its objectives and targets will be seamlessly aligned with those of the rest of the company. Everyone is motivated and working towards the same goal, so you can rely on the legal team’s commitment. And if the channels of communication have been well established between in-house counsel and the business at large, the in-house legal team will have a deep understanding of the way your company works and the challenges it faces, so you’ll receive nuanced and tailored advice that will enable the business to flourish.
During the pandemic, in-house legal teams have had a particularly big impact, helping businesses navigate murky waters and manage business risk, while also helping to re-shape the workplace to reflect the new ways in which we are working now.
If your company is similarly working through a period of transition and you’ve been toying with the idea of developing in-house legal counsel, now might just be the perfect time. And remember, we’re here to help you in any way we can.