outside counsel
Legal Guides

Do You Need An Outside Counsel? What Do They Do?

| December 19, 2023

When it comes to legal help, too many cooks never spoil the broth. Bringing in an outside counsel is like bringing in a group of master chefs to cater a dinner party. 

You have the assurance. With that many experienced professionals in the house, you don’t have to worry about a thing. They got you.

So, in this article, we will be talking about “outside counsels”. We will tell you all about their purpose and why you should hire them.

However, need not worry. This is not going to be one of those posts where we convince you to hire one. Instead, we will tell you the ups and downs that come with hiring outside councils. And finally, you will be the one taking the last step to hire the defense attorney of your choice. After all, at The Legal Guides, we fully support informed decisions.

So, without much dilly-dallying, let’s dive in!

What Is Outside Counsel?

In the legal world, we usually try to keep a lawyer on retainer. This applies to companies. These lawyers are usually under the company payroll. Therefore that makes them company employees.

Whenever there is legal trouble or specific paper work, this in-house Counsel helps out. Additionally they have responsibilities of their own.

However, what if the in-house lawyer fails to do their job? What if he does not have the capacity to handle complex matters?

Well, in such a case, you cannot let this harm your business or company, right?

In these situations, Outside Counsels come to your rescue.

What Does Outside Counsel Mean?

An outside Counsel is a lawyer or a group of lawyers that you hire for your company. You may also hire them to fix the company’s legal problems.

They provide legal advice, specific services, or even representation in court cases. An outside counsel is not a regular part of the organization. Moreover, they are not an internal employee on the payroll. We can think of them as external Legal Experts.

Thus, we hire their services to handle specific issues. You could say that you only need them in the shortfalls of your in-house legal team.

Since this outside lawyer or legal team does not work on payroll, there is a contract. Additionally, there may be contingent fees, flat fees or any other compensation method. We will get into the legal billing part of it after we discuss their functions.

Outside Counsels can handle litigation, regulatory complaints, contracts, or specific legal issues.

What Function Does Outside Counsel Have?

Outside counsels are like legal experts that a company hires. When they need some extra-legal help, in-house lawyers may not be enough.

Moreover, the company may not be able to keep expert lawyers indefinitely. Having them under their in-house payroll for a long time can get costly.

So let us get to know what an outside Counsel does.

They provide expert advice.

I mean, if you are bringing in experts, you try to get all the advice that you can get. They provide a second opinion.

Remember, your in-house lawyers look at things differently. However, a person from the outside may come in with a fresh perspective.

They represent you in court.

Your outside counsels are lawyers. Thus, they provide you with legal representation whenever you need it. Especially in case of lawsuits, they offer bullet-proof defense.

Companies often go out of their way to hire outside counsels in tough lawsuits.

They come in with their unique skill set.

So, you hire a legal team from outside for unique skills. These skills are what your in-house counsel may lack.

Besides, you get outside counsels for specific projects under specific parts of the law. For example, for a specific contract problem, you hire a legal counsel with contractual experience. For Complex tax matters, you hire tax-based legal counsels.

They are quite the detectives.

Keeping all jokes apart, outside counsels carry out detailed investigations. So, if you suspect fraudulent business, you can go ahead and hire outside help. 

It is their job to keep up with the current laws.

We are well aware of how frequently laws change. That is why hiring an expert outside legal team ensures updated lawyers. Because let’s face it. Your in-house lawyers only deal with in house matters.

Therefore, outside counsels bring in lawyers with varied experience.

Lastly, you hire outside legal counsels to save you money. Yes, this might seem a bit surprising to you. But hiring the right legal team right from the beginning is the best way to save money.

Ethical Guidelines For Outside Counsels

What function does outside counsel have in creating an ethically based, fraud resistant culture?
When you are hiring outside counsels, you worry if they will do a good job. After all, you know who your in-house lawyers are. Their strengths and shortfalls are no stranger to you.

However, did you know that all outside counsels are bound by ethical implications? Yes, under the American Bar Association, all outside counsels have to act ethically. ABA authorities have certain module rules for outside counsels to follow.  Let’s check out some of these guidelines.

  • They cannot represent competitors of their clients.
  • All outside councils cannot represent a client when there is a conflict of interest.
  • When the represent a client in a matter, they cannot represent another client from the same matter. However, if the first client gives Express, they can go ahead with it.
  • Additionally, the lawyer cannot represent their client’s competitor whether or not there is a true conflict of interest.

Therefore, outside councils can be quite trustworthy. If they do not abide by these rules, they may lose their license to practice law.

To Conclude

With this, we reach the end of our article. We may wonder if at all we need to hire outside councils. However, hiring the services of experienced legal professionals can prove to be very beneficial.

Moreover, we understand that cost may be an issue. So, how much does outside corporate counsel cost? Well, the answer to this question depends on how long you are hiring their services. Also, the more complications, the more the cost.

But the costs will be worth it in the long run once you leave all your legal problems behind. So, if your legal troubles seem like too much to bear, go ahead and hire an outside counsel.

Read Also:

Spread the love

Debkanya Bhattacharya
Debkanya Bhattacharya

Debkanya is a lawyer turned writer. With an experience of 3 years, she is your go-to source for all things law. She has a soft corner for the US and international section. When the weekend arrives, you'll find her reading up on politics, Austen, or travel blogs over a cup of coffee.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *