How will small and mid-sized company CEOs and business owners balance legal risk with their bottom lines in 2015?
With eyes fixed upon growth in the coming year, many U.S. executives and business owners will turn to in-house legal counsel to help minimize risk and inform sound decisions. But not every company needs or can afford full time internal legal support for all the potential legal issues that arise. How can smaller companies be sure they have the legal acumen to keep up in the marketplace?
A recent survey of CEOs and business owners reveals that while the majority of small-to-mid-sized companies surveyed outsource legal services, nearly all of those with in-house attorneys rely on their senior counsel for company planning and strategy.
The survey, which was administered this summer by a global research and analytics firm to a sample of 500 U.S. business owners and CEOs, included executives from a wide range of industries, led by construction, professional and business services, scientific and technical services, and retail trade.
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While 79 percent of respondents said they believe the economic recession is not yet over, 56 percent said they plan to expand products and services to reach new customers in 2015, while nearly 40 percent said they plan to increase salaries and cut overhead costs. About a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to increase their internal workforce and/or expand geographically.
As executives are optimistic for growth in the coming year, the recovering economy will require legal experts that are on top of their game to protect investments and minimize risk. This sentiment is echoed in the results of the survey: nearly 80 percent said general counsel is very involved or somewhat involved in making important decisions for the company.
“General Counsels are being asked to be more nimble than ever in the breadth of areas they respond to,” said Laurie Chamberlin, President of Special Counsel. “Hiring legal subject matter experts on a short term, as needed basis is a great way to address particular needs.”
While GCs are a trusted go-to for C-suite executives – 87 percent said they trust them to help stave off potentially damaging legal risk – contract attorneys can offer niche expertise to help both GCs and CEOs sleep better at night.
As a leader in contract attorney and paralegal services, Special Counsel provides clients with experts in a wide range of specialized areas, including intellectual property litigation, compliance regulation, real estate transactions, labor and employment, contracts administration, corporate mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructuring and more.
Adding contract attorneys and paralegals can not only assist in-house attorneys with providing sound counsel on the challenges facing their company, but also save business owners money by providing no-commitment services and averting costly legal risk.
“Small-to-mid-sized companies use different avenues to meet their legal needs, including outside counsel and contract legal professionals,” Chamberlin said.
For some small-to-mid-sized companies, the sweet spot is a combination of efforts: in-house general counsel with inside knowledge about the company and its goals, aligned with contract legal professionals who are experts in their areas of law.
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