When is Outside Counsel the Right Choice?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2019 | Firm News |

Often, organizations will be faced with a decision of whether to rely on outside counsel as opposed to in-house counsel concerning legal matters.    Deciding on hiring outside counsel may not be feasible for every legal issue.  However, certain legal matters may be better suited for outside counsel.  Outside counsel may be better equipped to handle the following legal situations.

Major Litigation

In major litigation, an outside firm experienced in handling complex litigation may be the best option. In-house counsel often lack the resources and expertise of complex litigation matters. As in-house counsel, they typically handle day-to-day business-related legal matters involving regulatory compliance, employment matters, contracts, and business negotiations. Additionally, because in-house counsel is often involved in the business-related matters of the organization, they may be called as witnesses in a litigation. Outside counsel will have independent judgment of legal issues in the case and will not be called as a witness in litigation.

Major Negotiations

Outside counsel may be helpful in negotiating employment contracts for executive positions. Because these executives will then manage and direct the organization and in-house legal departments of the company, it is best to have outside counsel negotiate compensation packages and employment contracts. This way, in-house counsel avoids any impropriety and bias in hiring executives. Engaging outside counsel to negotiate employment contracts with high-ranking officers and executives for the company minimizes conflicts of interest and increases independent judgment of the counsel and officers.

Specialized Area of Law

Additionally, some litigation may involve a specialized area of the law, such as intellectual property litigation or antitrust violations that may be better handled by a firm with specific experience in these areas of law. In-house counsel may have general business law experience and may not specialize in patent prosecution or trade-related laws. When legal matters requiring unique legal issues arise, it may be best to retain outside counsel with expertise in those issues.

Foreign Matters

When organizations must negotiate contracts or business filings, or litigate in other countries, outside counsel with international law experience or contacts may better serve the needs of the business.

Small Businesses

Small businesses may rely on outside counsel for all legal matters as hiring a dedicated in-house counsel may not be financially sustainable. An outside counsel may be needed for the following reasons:

  • Employee-based lawsuits for unlawful termination or discrimination
  • Personal injury lawsuit
  • Government agency investigation related to employment, environmental, or tax-related matters

When seeking outside counsel, seek counsel that is willing to understand your organization’s needs and risk profile and is willing to treat your company with the same care and attention that an in-house counsel would provide.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at the Harty Williams Provide Legal Counsel for Business Matters

For thorough and competent counseling on a variety of legal issues, rely on a Philadelphia business lawyer at the Harty Williams. For an initial consultation, call us at 267-383-3899 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.