Law Firm General Counsel

How Law Firm GC Can Help

Law firms are not like other businesses. Ethics regulations limit or dictate what can and cannot be done. We are here to help.

We understand the unique issues and challenges that law firms face. We are both a trusted and strategic advisor to our law firm clients and are able to provide efficient and thoughtful solutions to our clients’ business and ethics related legal issues.  

Serving as Outside Law Firm General Counsel, we help lawyers and law firm owners identify, understand, and protect themselves from the legal and ethical issues that face them every day.

Law Firm GC can give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on what you do best – serving your clients and growing your practice. We provide the following services and more:

  • General business advice and counsel to law firms
  • Law firm risk management
  • Ethics and compliance issues
  • Risk management procedures 
  • Client retainer agreements
  • Partnership agreements
  • Attorney employment agreements
  • Co-counsel/referral agreements
  • Lateral movement of attorneys
  • Law firm breakups and law firm dissolutions
  • Fee disputes with clients and other attorneys
  • Law Firm succession planning
  • Sudden Health Crisis Planning
  • Law firm contingency planning
  • Law firm compensation systems
  • Buying a law practice
  • Selling a law practice
  • Closing a law practice
  • Attorney marketing and advertising compliance review
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Attorney liens


What does a law firm general counsel do?

A law firm general counsel typically oversees the legal affairs of a law firm. Many law firms often
appoint one (or more) of their partners to serve as their general counsel. A law firm general
counsel’s responsibilities often include:

-Risk management: Helping identify and manage legal risks so the law firm may avoid
potential disputes and liabilities.

-Compliance: Ensuring the law firm complies with applicable laws and regulations.

-Conflicts analysis: Designing and managing a law firm’s conflict check procedures and
determining whether actual conflicts exist.

-Ethics advice: Helping ensure that all firm attorneys and staff adhere to applicable
ethics rules and regulations.

-Lateral hiring and movement: Assisting in the vetting and onboarding of lateral hires
and dealing with the inevitable departure of partners and associates.

-HR and employment issues: Managing employment-related legal matters, such as
hiring, firing, and discrimination claims.

-Vendor contracts: Overseeing contract negotiations and reviewing agreements to
protect the law firm’s interests and minimize legal exposure.

-Insurance renewals: Overseeing the application and renewal of a law firm’s various
insurance policies.

-Crisis planning and management: Providing legal guidance and support in the event
of a crisis or emergency.

-General strategic advice: Offering legal advice on strategic decisions, mergers,
acquisitions, and partnerships that the law firm may consider.

How can a general counsel help your law firm?

A law firm general counsel can help a law firm mitigate risk, assist its attorneys with ethics
compliance, and provide effective management of a law firm’s legal affairs. By having a
dedicated general counsel, a law firm will benefit from a consistent voice providing advice, while
allowing the firm and its attorneys to focus on their core legal practices and clients.
What is the difference between inside general counsel and outside general counsel?
In-house general counsel is either a partner or employee of the law firm who is actively involved
with the firm and intimately understands the firm from the inside. Outside general counsel are
external attorneys who provide services on a more flexible, part-time, project-based, or
specialized basis.

Why your law firm should consider hiring an outside general counsel?

Law firms have lawyers. They have smart lawyers. So why not just represent themselves?
Sounds good, but in practice not so much. You know the old saying – a lawyer that represents
himself has a fool for a client.
When internal law firm general counsel encounter an issue they have not seen or do not
regularly see, they may need to devote significant time to learning about that issue. Because
internal law firm general counsel typically assume that role in addition to maintaining their client
facing legal practice, they will necessarily take time away from their billable client work. This
probably is not the most efficient use of a firm’s resources.

Some other reasons for law firms to hire outside general counsel:

-Attorney-client privilege more likely to be maintained: While most jurisdictions
recognize the attorney-client privilege for communications with in-house general
counsel, that protection is not absolute and in practice may be inadvertently pierced.
With an outside general counsel, communications are more likely to remain protected.

-Fiduciary duties owed solely to your firm: A law firm and its attorneys owe fiduciary
duties to their clients. An internal general counsel could have conflicting duties and
generally speaking, fiduciary duties to clients are paramount. An outside general
counsel’s duties are only to the law firm.

-New, different perspective: Outside general counsel bring an external perspective and
can provide a broader range of legal experience. They may also help overcome
differences of personality and opinion within a law firm.

-Detached objective legal advice: Outside general counsel provide objective legal
advice without the same level of institutional bias that in-house counsel might have.

-Focused expertise: Outside general counsel will likely have specialized expertise and
experience with many different law firms, making them more efficient than in-house

-Scalability: Law firms can scale their use of outside general counsel up or down as
needed, without dedicating a full-time attorney in that role. They can hire outside counsel
for specific projects, to handle overflow work, or to supplement internal counsel.

Why hire Law Firm GC as your outside law firm general counsel?

Every law firm needs trusted counsel it can turn to for advice. Law Firm GC is that
counsel. We know your business, because it is also our business.

-We have experience representing hundreds of lawyers and law firms over more than a
-We help assess risk in ways that you may not have considered
-We know the restrictions that ethics rules and opinions impose on law firms
-We seek to find creative solutions that keep you in compliance and take you to yes,
instead of blindly saying no
-We bring good judgment and a team approach to help you and your law firm

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