Fractional General Counsel: Legal Expertise Redefined

In the fast-paced world of startups and SMEs, every decision can make or break the path to success. Legal challenges are no exception, as they form the bedrock upon which sustainable growth is built. The notion of hiring a permanent in-house general counsel can be daunting. It is a big step for resource-strapped startups, but a transformative solution has emerged – the Fractional General Counsel (Fractional GC).

Fractional GC services can empower startups and businesses with top-notch legal expertise, without the budgetary constraints of a permanent hire or using private practice lawyers. From reducing time-to-revenue to ensuring a business is prepared for fundraisings, Fractional GCs bring an array of benefits that redefines the way startups should approach their legal needs. 

What is a Fractional General Counsel?

So, what is Fractional GC? A Fractional General Counsel offers an organisation the chance to ‘subscribe’ to an expert lawyer to serve as its general counsel without any long-term commitment. In this role, they provide legal advice, guidance, and representation to the company, just like a full-time general counsel would do, but with the ability to flex the support up and down to match changing business needs.

Fractional GC services empower startups and SMEs that may not have the resources to hire a full-time in-house general counsel, to grow their businesses sustainably; knowing they are managing and mitigating legal and business risks appropriately. It allows these companies to access legal expertise and support without the cost and commitment of a full-time salary and benefits.

Some key responsibilities of a fractional general counsel include: 

  • Legal advisory: Providing legal counsel on a wide range of matters, including: product development, contract drafting and negotiation, intellectual property, employment law issues, corporate governance and many more.
  • Growth enablement: helping to enable a company to scale on solid foundations, whilst mitigating and managing business and legal risks.
  • Compliance and guidance: Ensuring the company complies with relevant laws and regulations and develops and implements policies to enable this on an ongoing basis.

By engaging a Fractional GC, companies can benefit from having access to experienced legal advice, tailored to their specific needs, while maintaining flexibility and cost-effectiveness. It allows the company to focus on its core business activities while knowing they are growing in a sustainable way.

Advantages of using a Fractional General Counsel?

Appointing a Fractional GC can offer several benefits for companies – particularly smaller businesses and startups, or organisations in high-growth mode – with specific legal needs:  

  • Growth Enabler: A Fractional GC will empower a business to scale on solid, sustainable, foundations – which will drive long term success.
  • Cost-Effective: Fractional arrangements allow businesses to access expertise and resources earlier, avoiding the prohibitive costs associated with a permanent, full-time employee or exorbitant law firm fees.
  • Specialised Expertise: Fractional GCs often have a diverse range of experiences, having worked within multiple companies and industries.This expertise can drive real value for a company, by understanding and helping implement best practice across the business.
  • Flexibility & Scalability: Companies can tailor the level of legal support they need based on their specific requirements. Fractional arrangements allow for flexibility in terms of hours worked and the duration of the engagement. As a company grows or its legal needs change, the level of legal support can be adjusted accordingly. This ensures that the company receives the appropriate level of legal services at different stages of its development.
  • Strategic Partner & Business Continuity: Engaging a Fractional GC ensures early and continuous access to stage-specific legal advice and support. A Fractional General Counsel serves as a strategic partner to the company’s leadership, contributing legal and business insights to drive the company’s objectives.

Why is using Fractional GCs On the Rise?

The utilisation of Fractional GCs is on the rise, and this can be attributed to many of the above advantages. A Fractional GC enables a business to engage specialist legal support earlier and with a proactive, solution focused mindset. 

Embedding a Fractional GC in a company will mean a business can get ahead of key legal and business challenges early, minimising future pain and costs. This approach will reduce the stress and delay associated with day-to-day business challenges, as well as major corporate events, by preemptively identifying and removing many of the pitfalls associated with growth. 

It’s important to choose a fractional General Counsel with the right expertise and experience to ensure that they can effectively address the specific legal needs of the company. 

Given the dynamic nature of the legal landscape, which involves regulatory changes, new laws, and global events, companies are aware that the insights provided by senior lawyers who are well-versed in these developments are invaluable. By adopting a Fractional GC early, companies can benefit from senior-level legal experts where they previously  lacked the resources to attract or afford a full-time senior lawyer.

To sum it all up?

Fractional GC services have emerged as a game-changing solution for startups and smaller businesses, heralding an era of pro-activity, efficiency, adaptability, and strategic legal support; even for early stage businesses. 

As they embrace this transformative approach to legal expertise, companies can position themselves to conquer legal and business challenges with confidence and propel their ventures to greater, long-term success. Ultimately, this will super-charge sustainable growth as complex legal challenges are proactively navigated with finesse and understanding.

If you’re interested to find out about Seven Legal’s Fractional GC services, please get in touch.

Written by Saman Harris – Senior Consultant @ Seven Legal