Every company has legal issues that need to be solved, especially those looking to grow. A Fractional General Counsel offers companies, often startups or small businesses, the opportunity to work with very experienced former in-house lawyers without incurring the cost of a full-time GC.
This comes as part of a shift to a more flexible working world. Fractional services are much like hiring a part-time employee, as opposed to outside counsel. Professionals are able to provide advice based on a retainer or contract agreement. This also means that a Fractional General Counsel may work for more than one company at a time.
Ideally, a Fractional GC provides high-quality legal services and at the same time works alongside companies to learn about their business. Often this involves replicating their experience working with various companies at the C-suite level. It’s an opportunity for those with in-house legal experience to leverage their expertise in an outside counsel role.
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The main difference between a Fractional GC and a GC is the type of employment. A General Counsel is an employee at the company while a Fractional General Counsel is freelance (treated as an independent contractor).
This means that fractional counsel can work on a much more ‘on-demand’ basis, which may work better for some companies. Some companies opt for a Fractional Counsel because it gives them greater flexibility over employment terms, while maintaining a strong relationship between law and the C-suite.
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Fractional General Counsel tend to operate on a set fee. This means that once this set fee is met, they are accessible for any legal support and advice you may need. The fee itself will depend on the nature and frequency of your legal needs. This could be at an hourly rate or a specific service charge depending on the preferences of the company and GC.
Other than this, a Fractional GC provides a very similar service to an in-house General Counsel. Working as a General Counsel in smaller companies offers its own set of challenges, an experienced GC will be able to navigate these.
A Fractional GC will focus on both the commercial and legal challenges a company may face. For more information on what the role and responsibilities of a general counsel looks like check this page out.
It's not so much a case of when a company needs a Fractional General Counsel, but if this is the right type of General Counsel for them. A Fractional GC is a legal option aimed at smaller companies or startups who need legal support but lack the financial backing for a full time GC.
That said, larger companies may also find themselves needing expert advice on a particular urgent project better suited to a Fractional GC.
The Fractional General Counsel arrangement can be beneficial for all involved. It offers firm-based fees, predictable legal costs and increased business knowledge for the consumer and greater flexibility and work/life balance.
As this is a relatively new trend in legal services, it can be hard to know where to start. It’s important to take your time to see what the best investment is for your business. But how do you find the best Fractional General Counsel?
The cost entirely depends on a variety of factors:
According to Contracts Counsel, the average Fractional general Counsel service charges between $150-$350, but could be higher depending on the GC’s experience level. More experienced Fractional General Counsel will charge more than those just starting out, as they have more C-Suite experience.
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