Business-Savvy Counsel On Affordable Terms

Frequently Asked Questions About GenCounsel

Q: Is GenCounsel a law firm or a placement firm?

A: GenCounsel is a business services platform, but it is neither a law firm nor a placement firm. Through our platform, we provide the right mix of resources to enable our member attorneys to provide outstanding service to clients, often in the role of an outside or inside general counsel. Each member attorney maintains the direct attorney-client relationship. We also provide administrative services to support this relationship, including billing and collections.

Q: Do GenCounsel members operate as virtual law firms, and if so, how is this different from other virtual firms?

A: GenCounsel members most often establish a regular on-site presence with their clients, sometimes with dedicated email accounts, business cards and offices. Time spent on site is essential to build relationships, gain industry knowledge, understand and appreciate the client’s culture, and proactively address issues and opportunities. Few clients require full-time on-site presence, yet almost every client has needs that arise sporadically. Our members remain available and flexible when off-site to serve their clients’ needs. This provides a win/win outcome with our clients having an effective and dedicated resource at a reduced cost, and the members having an opportunity to serve multiple clients.

Q: My law firm has offered an associate attorney on a “seconded basis” – isn’t this identical to the GenCounsel offering?

A: Most typically not. Our member attorneys are experienced, senior in-house business lawyers with much more expanded skill sets than are typically available from typical law firms. Since they have already spent time as in-house lawyers, they bring business-savvy and enhanced sensitivity to cost-effective legal counseling. In addition to the experience gap, our overhead and rate structures are usually more favorable than typical outside law firms.

Q: If I like my GenCounsel member attorney and my business continues to grow, are there any restrictions on offering/hiring the member as a full-time employee?

A: We actually hope this happens. Sure, the transition to full-time status will remove a resource available to other clients. We view this as a natural life cycle event, and would welcome back the member should the full-time relationship sunset. One advantage of selecting GenCounsel is that we are a group of like-minded and highly-skilled attorneys, and should your resource join another client in a full-time role, we help mitigate this risk by having other experienced members available to provide continuity and great service.

Q: Why do you prominently promote fixed fees?

A: Because client feedback indicates that they often feel typical outside law firms are not appropriately vested in “results” and clients tell us they do not like being surprised by high fees. As your general counsel, the amount of the fixed fee is set for the retention period to provide absolute cost assurance. The fee may be adjusted in future periods to reflect any changes in your needs.

Q: How do you determine the amount of the fixed fee and on what basis do you reconcile time?

A: We most typically estimate the number of days during an accounting period ranging from one to six months. A billing day consists of 8-10 hours and is often spread across multiple days. The member will review the details of their matters handled with the client upon the conclusion of the relevant accounting period.

Q: That process seems well designed for your GC services, but how do you handle project work?

A: We do our best to meet with the client to better understand the nature and scope of the project. We are then better positioned to align values with the client, and a fixed fee may be appropriate.

Q: So, do you offer hourly billing?

A: We will bill by the hour if that is the client’s preference. The nature of our investment to gain appropriate knowledge to serve as a client’s GC is often inconsistent with a purely hourly approach in the absence of a longer-term commitment, yet we will accommodate the unique preferences of our clients.