There has always been a glaring inequity in legal services between the haves and the have-nots. If a lawyer is a hired gun, the one pays the cash hires the gun. In general, the cost of legal services has been high for a few reasons. First, the cost of law school is high: At least 7 years of post-secondary education costs a few hundred thousand dollars at its cheapest. So graduates needed to make high salaries to pay back student loans. Second, the cost of fancy law firm overhead is very great. While gleaming modern offices or plush leather and Persian rugs may inspire confidence that this is a “top law firm,” it comes at a high cost. Third, the pyramid partnership structure at traditional law firms means that billing rates need to be high to pay the high equity partner salaries. Fourth, legal services are bid up by clients who want to get “the best legal counsel” and are willing to pay a premium for those legal services.
The result is that the cost of legal services has been very high. While it varies between smaller and larger legal markets, you’ll generally never get experienced business lawyers for a billing rate below $500 per hour or even more. Even then, you don’t really know what you’re getting for several reasons, making quality of service and also your final legal bill hard to predict (and thus making it scary to hire a traditional law firm): First, you don’t know who at the firm is doing the actual work. Traditional law firms are black boxesin which the process is not transparent and where “rain making” partners bring in the client but “service lawyers” do the actual work. The traditional law firm is just a brand, but you don’t know who you’re actually getting. Second, you don’t know how many lawyers will be on the “team” that deals with your matter. You could be paying not just for one lawyer, but more than one, even several. That could get unexpectedly costly very fast. Third, as the lawyers will assure you, “you never know just how long that will take,” meaning that they won’t generally be pinned down in advance to tell how much time a project will take and therefore how much it will cost in legal fees. And fourth, you don’t know if your lawyer really has a handle on what you need, because “your lawyer” is not actually a person but a rotating team whom you don’t know personally.
For all of those reasons, many smaller companies and even mid-size businesses find themselves unwilling and unable to access the business law services they need. And that’s exactly where the solution of inside fractional general counsel services comes in. Inside outsourced fractional general counsel legal services. The problem of bill rates is solved by preset monthly retainers and exactly the among of lawyering you need. Good fractional general counsel services provide you with a single dedicated lawyer, so that solves the black box problem and the open-ended billing of “teams” in one fell swoop. And because your fractional outsourced general counsel is dedicated to your company, he or she will be familiar with your unique issues. And without high overhead of traditional law firms, outsourced general counsel services comes at a bargain rate, fully one-half to two-thirds less than traditional law firms. For all those reasons, small to medium-sized businesses are now flocking to the fractional general counsel inside legal services solution.