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  • Writer's pictureLisa Temple

The Benefits of General Counsel




Business owners often underestimate the role of the General Counsel (GC)—especially when they compare the cost of GC to something that directly (and positively) impacts revenue. It’s tempting to always side with the latter. However, the value of a GC lies in its ability to provide legal guidance, which is fundamental for long-term stability and success. This role encompasses various aspects, from mitigating litigation risks to ensuring compliance with evolving and expanding laws and regulations.


A Shift in Mindset 


The primary benefit of having a GC is prevention. By reviewing agreements, such as vendor contracts and Software as a Service (SaaS) agreements, a GC ensures that terms are favorable and tailored to your business's needs. While eliminating risk outright is not feasible, a GC plays a crucial role in identifying and mitigating potential legal pitfalls. 


For instance, a GC can spot unfavorable clauses in agreements with major service providers like FedEx or UPS, which could otherwise go unnoticed until a dispute arises. When smaller businesses receive agreements from larger entities like either UPS or FedEx, they often feel compelled to sign what they are given. The more powerful company sets the terms because they often have all the leverage. From firsthand experience, we are here to tell you that isn’t true. Regardless of your company's size and financial position, you can change unfavorable terms when they are presented to you. 

 

This proactive approach to legal matters is often overlooked in favor of investing in sales or other immediate growth strategies. While the impact of sales personnel may seem more readily quantifiable, neglecting legal safeguards can lead to significant setbacks. A scenario where sales flourish but lack enforceable agreements to protect these transactions exemplifies the adage of being penny-wise but pound-foolish. 


Having a GC's active involvement ensures that your business is protected in its current dealings and is prepared for future legal landscapes. With a GC on board, you gain the confidence to know you have the support you need to adapt to new regulations and industry standards. This foresight is invaluable, keeping the company ahead of legal challenges and maintaining a steady course toward growth.


Employment Laws 


A GC also plays a pivotal role in navigating the complexities of employment law. Misclassifying employees and not staying compliant with wage and hour regulations can result in substantial fines and legal challenges—potentially devastating for a company. A GC ensures that your business's policies and procedures align with current employment laws, minimizing the risk of costly legal disputes. 


GCs aid in essential human resources functions, such as drafting onboarding and separation agreements. This aspect of a GC's role is vital in most industries, especially where labor disputes are common. By having a legal professional overseeing these areas, your business is better equipped to handle any challenges that may arise. 


A GC also guides the creation of equitable and legally compliant employee handbooks and training materials, essential in maintaining a positive and lawfully sound workplace environment. They play a crucial role in advising management through sensitive employee relations issues, ensuring that decisions are made with a thorough understanding of legal implications. This proactive approach protects the company from legal liabilities and fosters a more harmonious and productive workplace conducive to sustained success. 


Temple Law PLLC


Understanding the multifaceted benefits of general counsel is crucial for any business aiming for sustainable growth and stability. If you're considering bolstering your business's legal defenses or simply seeking advice on legal matters pertinent to your operations, scheduling a consultation is your first step. Reach out today to explore how general counsel can play a pivotal role in safeguarding and advancing your business interests.

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