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Outside General Counsel: Is Your Business Ready

By: Attorney Shira Truitt

Every entrepreneur begins their work by determining what they will do, where they'll take risks, and what they can live without until it's time. Somewhere along the road to success, the business gets too big to take legal risks but not big enough to hire an attorney full-time. When that happens, an outside general counsel may be the answer. An outside general counsel (OGC) is a legal professional who serves as a company's primary legal adviser but is not an employee of the company. OGCs can provide a range of legal services, including contract review, risk management, and litigation support. Outside general counsel are often used by small and medium-sized businesses that do not have the resources or need for a full-time in-house legal team.

There are several situations in which a company may benefit from hiring an OGC. For example:

  • If the company does not have an in-house legal department or the in-house legal team is stretched thin, an OGC can provide additional support and expertise.

  • If the company is facing a legal issue that requires specialized knowledge or experience, an OGC with relevant expertise can be valuable.

  • If the company is undergoing rapid growth or expansion, an OGC can help navigate the legal challenges that often arise in these situations.

  • Legal advice and representation: An outside general counsel can provide legal advice and representation on a wide range of issues, such as contracts, employment law, intellectual property, and business formation.

  • Compliance: An outside general counsel can help ensure that the business is in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

  • Risk management: An outside general counsel can help identify and mitigate legal risks facing the business.

To effectively use an outside general counsel, the business should identify its legal needs and budget constraints and conduct a search for qualified candidates. This may involve seeking recommendations from other business owners or professionals or using a legal staffing firm. The business should then interview and evaluate potential candidates to determine the best fit for their needs. It's important to note that an outside general counsel may not be a suitable replacement for an in-house legal team in all cases. In some situations, such as when the business has complex legal needs or a high volume of legal work, an in-house legal team may be more appropriate. Here are some additional tips to effectively use OGC's:

  • Clearly define the scope of the OGC's responsibilities. This will ensure that both the company and the OGC are on the same page and can focus on the tasks at hand.

  • Set clear expectations for communication and responsiveness. Establishing clear lines of communication will help ensure that the OGC can provide timely and effective legal support.

  • Establish a budget for the OGC's services. This will help the company manage its legal costs and ensure that the OGC's services be used effectively.

In summary, an OGC can be a valuable resource for a company in need of legal support, but it is important to carefully consider the scope of the OGC's responsibilities and to establish clear lines of communication and budgeting.


If you need legal advice or a lawyer in Illinois or Missouri, please contact The Truitt Law Firm, LLC for assistance. For more information on The Truitt Law Firm, LLC or to schedule an appointment, please go to


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