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What does an in-house lawyer do?

Some companies are big enough to have one or multiple lawyers working for them as employees- these are referred to as in-house lawyers. The can be called General Counsels, Associate General Counsels, Legal Counsels, Senior Counsels and any other number of names (trust me!). A private practice lawyer does not usually gain deep insight into the working of their client's business, especially not to the level of an in-house lawyer. So what is it in-house lawyers do? This is not a comprehensive list:

  1. Identify and Manage Legal Risk. In house lawyers often help their clients identify legal risks before they become issues.

  2. Get out of the way. In house lawyers have to let the business operate- they often point out the risks, but assuming the risks are not too onerous, they let the business people make decisions.

  3. Help with negotiations- having a business lawyer around can help you get strong contractual language in place for vendors and employees.

  4. Manage external counsel- lawyers are well placed to monitor the work product and billings of external lawyers.

  5. Assist with governance- many lawyers have a passing familiarity with corporate governance and boards.

  6. Learn! Lawyers are good at synthesizing large amounts of information in different areas, and can often adopt to new roles fairly easily.

We approach our business clients with the view to assisting the whole business, as if we were in house lawyers, as that is a role we done. If you would like to discuss this approach, please feel free to contact us.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.

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