Alternative legal services give a company the protection and ease of in-house counsel, without the long-term costs of a permanent hire or the unknowable expense of hiring outside counsel.
Growing companies benefit from being able to stay agile. The key to reacting swiftly to the changing demands of growth is to keep your team lean, but have access to a wide variety of resources, like third-party vendors, who can help fill gaps quickly.
This combination of a core team plus strong external support provides two crucial benefits to the company. The first benefit is that having just the employees the company really needs helps ensure that the team can get aligned quickly. The more people who have to get with the program, the slower the project will go. The second benefit is that keeping employee costs low frees up cash that can be used to benefit the growth of the company overall.
Here are some of the reasons having alternative legal services providers on the company’s roster of vendors is a smart move.
Large firms bring with them a hierarchy of senior attorneys, junior attorneys, and support staff, all of whom bill by the hour. It is difficult to predict and control how much it will cost to hire an outside firm to handle an issue. By bringing in a set number of lawyers who work directly for the company, it’s easy for the company to monitor and govern spending.
Simply put, attorneys employed through an alternative legal services firm all have the ability to work remotely. That means no need to shuffle in-house employees to make office space, or scrambling to find extra office furniture.
Speaking the Foreign Language
If the company is expanding its business dealings into a new country, where people speak a different language, the company may need a permanent employee who speaks that language. However, if the company is only doing a single deal, such as trying out a new inventory wholesaler, bringing on a permanent translator may be overkill.
Alternative legal services typically have a roster of lawyers who speak a variety of languages. That means the company can get a contract written in Turkish without the hassle of headhunting or the worry about sharing confidential and privileged information with an outside translator.
Get In and Out on Projects
Launching a new project is time-consuming as it is. The company does not need to add the time delay and costs of traditional staffing up to that project if the project is going to be limited in scope and duration. Utilizing an alternative legal services provider means the company can add staff for the exact number of days and hours it needs for the project.
Gaining Insider Knowledge
Having insider knowledge of how a corporation or industry works can make the difference in pushing a deal ahead to success. Understanding a business’s culture, practices, vernacular, and perspective are vital to negotiating. Having an attorney on the team who can provide valuable insights as to what matters to the company being negotiated with can be the catalyst that makes the company’s offer more competitive, more attractive, and more solid.
When consulting with an alternative legal services agency, let them know the specifics of what kind of industry background is desired, so the company can gain the essential wisdom it needs to get the deal done quickly.
Getting One-Off Advice
Sometimes in business, the company needs advice about something narrow and specific, but only as a one-off. These are issues unlikely to repeat themselves. Here are some examples of things a company may need only once.
A department may need guidance on what type of work product qualifies for copyright or other intellectual property law protection. The company may need assistance obtaining a license or survey. Human Resources may need to write or update its employee manuals, non-disclosure agreements, or conflict of interest forms. A department that relies on forms for its contracts may need the language cleaned up.
Getting one-time advice is a prime example of when to get what is needed via a temporary use of an attorney. It’s a great way to try out using an alternative legal services company.
Conducting Internal Audits
As issues arise within a company or within an industry, companies benefit from taking stock of their own practices. Having an employee who understands the law, can think critically and ask incisive questions, but who also has a fresh set of eyes is important to truly assessing internal practices.
Hiring staff from an external site, like an alternative legal services company can get you the right person for the job quickly and discretely.
Good vendors provide the ability to stay agile. Law vendors, like alternative legal service providers, do the same. Use a legal vendor to reduce stress and unknowns, to keep the in-house team focused on their strengths, and to get the supportive legal work needed done quickly and efficiently.