The decision to hire the services of a General Counsel is a big one for any start-up or young business. It’s a significant business investment.
However, there are many reasons why a business will choose to take the plunge. A good GC is invaluable to any business’s success. For start-ups, a good GC will help navigate treacherous new regulatory waters, advise on the best way to raise finance, help protect that all-important IP and advice on strategy and operational matters. The question about hiring a GC is rarely ‘if’ but ‘when’.
It makes little sense to hire a GC, as the article below puts it, who is only going to act as an “air traffic controller” – that is, someone whose only role is to manage external council or just to cover basic day to day contract reviews. But a young company has options - instead of adding to head count it could recruit an interim GC/senior in house lawyers from entities like ours. This means that lawyers would not be on headcount, not a constant overhead but the individual would act as part of their team and be able to add a great deal of legal, strategic and operational value. It would place them in the right position to grow, but also to hire a permanent GC when the company is ready to do so.
Concerns over regulation also prompted Rosecrance Health Network to hire its first GC, Kelly Epperson, in December. Rosecrance is a private nonprofit organization offering behavioral health services in Illinois. The company’s president and CEO, Philip Eaton, says the complexity of the behavioral health industry has increased drastically in the past two decades, especially with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. After 25 years of relying on a part-timer, Rosecrance decided it needed a full-time GC who could deal with issues related to mental health, fundraising, nonprofit law and insurance payments.