Hiring a General Counsel for a Small Business

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Hiring a General Counsel for a Small Business or Startup

A general counsel, or in-house counsel, is an attorney that handles the legal matters for a business. A small business might have only one in-house attorney, while a larger business may have several. The general counsel prioritizes legal issues for the business and may pursue litigation or work on transactional matters on behalf of the business.

Do I Need to Hire a General Counsel Right Away?

As you start your small business or startup, you will not likely need to hire a general counsel, or in-house counsel, right away. Many businesses do not have enough work to warrant this expense and often hire an attorney to act as an outside counsel to their business. Outside counsel will work on projects and issues as they arise.

When Would Be an Ideal Time to Hire a General Counsel?

There are some instances where you may consider hiring a full-time in-house counsel for your business:

What Should I Look For When Hiring In-House Counsel?

The General Counsel most commonly reports to the CFO or the CEO and will need to work closely with the officers and directors on the business’s goals and budget constraints. Additionally, the following characteristics or skills may be relevant to your search for a general counsel:

Do I Need An Attorney To Hire a General Counsel?

While you will not likely need an attorney to hire an in-house counsel for your business, you may want to ask an attorney with experience in small businesses or startups if it is the right time to hire one.

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Last Modified: 01-06-2014 11:13 AM PST

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