At the Fetterman Law, we know how difficult it can be to face an issue in your professional life without a trusted lawyer on hand. You spend your time worrying about the future, concerned you’re not doing the right thing, and catastrophizing the repercussions instead of focusing on your organization. We’ve all been there. But with a reputable general counsel attorney by your side, those days can be over… for good.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yet what does a general counsel attorney actually do? Who do they serve? What can they help you with on a day-to-day basis? And what is it like working with one when they are not hired in-house? Keep reading to find out.
- What Does a General Counsel Attorney Do?
- Who Do General Counsel Attorneys Serve?
- Law enforcement agencies
- How to Work with an External General Counsel Attorney
- Getting Started with a General Counsel Attorney Who Works for YOU
What Does a General Counsel Attorney Do?
General counsel attorneys have experience in a wide variety of legal matters and typically maintain oversight of an organization’s legal affairs. They are the first port of call when a new legal issue arises, the defender of an organization’s legal rights and interests, and the party responsible for compliance across the board. General counsel attorneys are also excellent risk mitigators, keeping their eyes open at all times for potential problems and curveballs that might come your way.
These are just a few of the areas that a general counsel attorney can help you with:
- Providing legal counsel and guidance on a range of executive and operational matters, serving as a trusted advisor for any legal questions or problems affecting the organization.
- Handling compliance needs, including advisory on general compliance strategies, risk mitigation, corporate governance, crisis management, and other regulatory matters.
- Negotiating contracts and other legal documents with partners, vendors, contractors, and employees to protect your best interests.
- Representing the organization in transactions, police or other authority investigations, arbitrations, mediations, and litigation.
- Creating company policies on data security, the environment, anti-discrimination, and other heavily regulated corporate matters.
- Maintaining up-to-date expertise on legal issues of particular relevance to the organization as laws and regulations evolve over time.
- Communicating with internal and external stakeholders to ensure legal concerns are addressed throughout the organization.
- Holding the organization’s articles of incorporation (or other formation documents), bylaws, shareholder agreements, contracts, licenses, and other essential documents in secure storage.
- Managing any mergers, acquisitions, insolvencies, company dissolutions, and other critical events from start to finish.
- De-escalating and managing disputes with employees, contractors, shareholders, board members, members of the public, or other individuals or groups lodging complaints against the organization.
- Advising and evaluating other legal hiring needs, including subject matter specialists (such as merger and acquisition attorneys), in-house counsel, and expert witnesses.
- Conducting company training sessions on key matters of legal importance for executives, employees, in-house counsel, and other stakeholders.
But that’s not the end of it. A good general counsel attorney will be able to help with numerous legal matters and refer you to subject specialists when needed. If you are facing diverse legal issues and you need to get a lawyer on side quickly, get in touch with our team today.
Who Do General Counsel Attorneys Serve?
General counsel attorneys are not just for big companies, and they do not have to be hired in-house. Take the Fetterman Law, for example. We are general counsel attorneys and we serve client organizations all over Palm City, Martin Country, and the broader Treasure Coast area – and we’re licensed in the rest of Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Illinois to boot!
Businesses are the beating heart of any community, but whether you are starting a company, running an established business, or looking to merge with or acquire a competitor, you will face a broad spectrum of legal matters that can stop you in your tracks. As business owners ourselves, we know just how exhausting keeping up with everything can be!
General counsel attorneys can relieve you of these stresses and concerns, acting as your very own legal department and connecting you with whatever state or federal department or other specialists you might need. From contracts and compliance to marketing and media, there will always be something a general counsel attorney can help you with.
Non-profits may be in the business of doing good, but that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen. Serving the community is an admirable and honorable mission and to do the work effectively you need to remain on the right side of the law.
Charities and non-profits face extensive regulations and often provide help to the most vulnerable in our communities. In doing so, they often need help with formation, donor management, strategic planning, auditing and reporting, intellectual property, risk management, and general governance matters. A general counsel attorney can be a cost-effective and highly convenient means of getting the advice you need, exactly and only when you need it.
Law enforcement agencies
Those that work in law enforcement are among the bravest and most dedicated public servants, but unfortunately, they often find themselves subject to complaints and litigation for events that happen in the course of their duties. Police officers have strict codes of conduct to abide by and the vast majority of the time they perform their duties with excellence.
Regrettably, however, accidents and allegations do happen, and law enforcement departments need reliable and expert advisors on hand to help respond to critical events quickly and efficiently. Legal training, individual or departmental representation, public records management, personnel issues, regulatory matters, and policy drafting – all of this, and more, can be handled swiftly by a general counsel attorney, reducing the time and resource burden on already stretched police departments.
How to Work with an External General Counsel Attorney
When your company or organization has general counsel in-house, it’s easy to knock on their door or leave that mystery court document on their desk. But how does it work when your general counsel attorney has their own firm? Thankfully, the process is just as simple.
- When you have chosen the lawyer you want to work with, they will usually outline their fee arrangements from the very start so there are no nasty surprises when you need their help. At the Fetterman Law, we typically work on a flat-rate or per-project basis, giving you clarity into costs from day one.
- With your lawyer on retainer or poised to start a project when needed, you can simply call or email to get a quick question answered or to arrange an initial consultation for something more complex.
- Your lawyer will listen to your explanation of the situation and then help you figure out what is really going on from a legal perspective. They can isolate legal issues, let you know what you do and do not need to be concerned about, and outline the options for how to resolve the issue. You can then take this information and decide how to proceed based on their advice.
- If matters are more serious or require legal action to be taken or responded to, your general counsel attorney will explain the next steps and give you a clear picture of timelines, potential filing and court fees, and their high-level approach to handling the matter. With this taken care of, you can go back to concentrating on what matters most in your organization.
- If you hired your lawyer on a retainer, the work they complete for you will be deducted from the retainer as the case progresses. If the matter becomes unexpectedly more complex, you may need to increase the retainer, but any good lawyer should be able to scope their work to protect your legal rights and interests as far as possible while staying within budget. If you hired the lawyer on a per-project basis, you could pay fees throughout the project or at its conclusion, depending on the complexity, anticipated length of the case, and its progression.
- With every matter resolved, your general counsel attorney will become more familiar with your organization and the types of issues it faces, positioning them to anticipate any related issues and proactively manage them in future. Every time you work with a general counsel attorney, they become an even more valuable member of your team.
Getting Started with a General Counsel Attorney Who Works for YOU
We are Adam Fetterman and Brook Miscoski and we embody the family-oriented, community-spirited, and business-savvy spirit of the Fetterman Law in all that we do – whether in or out of the office. We are proud to be routinely recommended as first-rate general counsel attorneys in Palm City, Florida, and its surrounding areas, and we look forward to serving you no matter what life throws your way. To find out more about what a difference it can make having us on your side, give us a call at 772-202-3261 or submit your inquiry through our website.