• Kathy Svetina

How to Recruit Legal Counsel for Your Growing Business

From: "Help! My Business is Growing" Podcast



How to Recruit Legal Counsel For Your Growing Business


Business growth brings along new opportunities, increased revenue and productivity, and more employees.


But it comes with a sometimes unexpected increase in legal expenses as well due to the following:

  • Intellectual property requirements

  • Planning an IPO

  • Facing possible litigation

  • Entering several big contracts and transactions

  • And, other day-to-day legal issues that are a part of running a business


As a founder, you might already be thinking about hiring an in-house legal counsel for your growing business.


So when is it time - and what is the process - of hiring in-house legal counsel?

What should you look for in an applicant, and what is a realistic budget for this investment?


My guest Amy Rowland, founder of Varia Search, a boutique legal recruiting firm, talks about the fine art of recruiting legal counsel into your business, from fractional legal help to hiring an in-house counsel full time.

We also talk about how your company can benefit from the proper in-house counsel, including knowing your business better and responding quickly to your legal concerns and requirements.



In this week's episode, we discuss:

  • 2:00 How is a Fractional Talent Acquisition Consultant different from a recruiter specializing in the legal field?

  • 3:00 Definition of terms: What is outside counsel, in-house counsel, and general counsel?

  • 5:00 When do you know it's time to hire someone to be your in-house counsel vs. just an outside counsel?

  • 7:15 What quality should business owners look for when hiring an in-house counsel?

  • 12:40 How do fractional legal counsels work?

  • 21:07 What is the next tangible step to take to determine if your business needs in-house legal counsel?



Transcript


Listen to the podcast here:



How is a Fractional Talent Acquisition Consultant different from a recruiter specializing in the legal field?


A legal recruiter helps businesses find contracted - but mostly full-time - employees who will come and serve as in-house legal counsels.


A Fractional Talent Acquisition Partner, on the other hand, assists founders with a wide range of services - from training and finding other employees outside of the legal realm.



What a lot of startup founder or other company founders realize is that even when they hire their first in-house counsel, they still need to use outside counsel, because it's rare that one person can do anything.

Definition of terms: What is an outside counsel, in-house counsel, and general counsel?


  • Outside counsel

Independent lawyers or law firms you go to for specific legal matters.

They will have clients other than you and your business.


  • In-house counsel

Your company's lawyers who are also full-time members of your staff.

They don't have other clients and serve only your legal needs such as employee and other transactional contracts.


  • General counsel

Usually runs the entire legal department of any company, from a startup to a Fortune 500 company. They will also have a team of lawyers and paralegals, and contract managers working under them.



 
"The number one thing that you want to look for when you're hiring your first in-house counsel is that they have the ability to wear many hats." - Amy Rowland
 


What quality should business owners look for when hiring in-house counsel?


The number one quality to look out for is the candidate's ability to wear many hats and operate at a quick-moving pace.


There's a very big difference between working at a law firm and working in-house for a smaller, growing company where you're being thrown many different issues and have business units that need answers quickly.


You want a quick learner who can cover other issues as well, so you can decrease your spending on outside counsel.



How do Fractional Legal Counsels work?


There are different models, but some set up a billable rate and then dedicate X amount of hours to your business per month on a retainer basis.



For a start-up, your best person is going to be somebody just generally nimble, agile, and a quick learner - and they need to be hungry.


What is the next tangible step to take to determine if your business needs in-house legal counsel?


Evaluate how ready you are by:

  • Listing down all your legal needs (such as IP, IPO, compliance, contract requirements)

  • Sit down, crunch numbers, and do your cost analysis

  • Discuss with the leaders within your business if it is time

  • Reach out to a legal recruiter for a consultation to talk about your needs



We go in-depth with this topic and moreover at the podcast. Listen here:


 

To Recap:


Legal recruiters and Fractional Talent Acquisition Consultants specializing in legal recruiting can help you fill counsel positions in your company and advise you on the type of legal counsel you might need.


Most businesses work with three types of legal counsel:

  • Outside counsel or independent law firms that can handle special legal needs

  • In-house counsel or lawyers that are full-time members of your staff.

  • General counsel or the head of a company's entire legal department.


When hiring an in-house counsel, the top quality to look out for in a candidate is their ability to learn quickly, wear many hats, and be versatile and agile.


If you are not ready to commit to a full-time in-house legal counsel, you can opt to hire a Fractional Legal Counsel as well. They offer several different service models on retainer and it is a great way to test the waters before you commit to something full time.


Finally, to determine if your business needs in-house legal counsel :

  • Make a list of all your legal needs, including recurring requirements and one-offs.

  • Do your cost analysis to determine if hiring one full time versus outsourcing to outside counsel is financially more efficient

  • Discuss with your leaders or fellow founders

  • Reach out to a legal recruiter for a consultation


 

About Amy Rowland

Amy Rowland is the founder of Varia Search, a boutique legal recruiting firm that fills legal department roles, from general counsel to paralegals, of startups and tech companies.


Amy is also the host of the popular 'Fashionably Late' podcast, which features people who have found career fulfillment after a pivot.


Website: https://www.variasearch.com/about-us

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amylrowland/


 

by Kathy Svetina

Kathy is a Fractional CFO and the founder and director of NewCastle Finance LLC. She is a financial puzzle solver, focusing on women-owned businesses, providing financial insights needed for a healthy and sustainable business.