Midsize businesses face more complex legal issues as they surpass 50 employees. General counsel need to ensure that the company has access to high-quality outside counsel that can answer niche questions while remaining within the company’s legal budget.
Midsize companies can’t act immediately on every potential legal issue but have to know when to address the matter while it’s still manageable, before it snowballs.
- Their legal needs aren’t large enough to justify expanding the in-house legal department.
- They can’t risk using legal technology that produces low quality legal services.
- They can’t slow down to find, vet and onboard new attorneys.
If we’ve learned anything from the tech industry this year, it’s that growing companies need to carefully consider what departments to scale based on quantifiable metrics.
Small businesses and startups typically do the bare minimum, covering their legal needs as inexpensively as possible in order to devote more financial resources to business or software development and other initiatives that have a greater impact on the bottom line.
Giant companies, meanwhile, typically have robust in-house legal departments, as well as cadres of outside counsel, to handle the plethora of legal issues, both internal and external, that are unavoidable for companies of their size.
How Innovative GCs are Streamlining Legal Operations and Saving Time and Money
An effective strategy for structuring legal operations requires a constant balancing of considerations. Midsize companies need to conserve both the management team’s time and the business’s money. They have more financial resources than startups but also face more complex legal issues and regulations. Midsize companies have to carefully balance efficacy against budget constraints.
GCs who most successfully cut legal costs while maintaining quality use legal technology to cover basic business law needs like contract negotiation, employment, patent registrations and immigration.
They still use their law firms for more complex matters like litigation and large M&A transactions, but they move away from using their big law firms for everything. They use legal tech and new technology like eShares and Zenefits to complement their big law firms.
Collective General Counsel Ian Connett says that legal tech “lessen[s] administrative burdens” and helps him “save time and do more for less.”
“It’s obvious to me how technology can make legal — and in turn businesses — more streamlined and efficient,” he added.
Whether it’s finding the right attorney for a project, accessing transparent billing or contract management, Ian says that legal technology is the right fit for his legal needs as GC at a midsize company.
The new wave of GCs are starting to look beyond the status quo and invest in technology to streamline their responsibilities and save the company money.