The reason to hire outsourced technology counsel as opposed to an in-house attorney differs depending upon the size and stage of your organization. For example, if you are true start-up, using your (or your investors’) capital on a full-time in-house counsel is likely not the best use of financial resources. Start-ups know that any lawyer’s full-time involvement only partially relates to legal matters, oftentimes with the majority of time spent on other tasks such as business development, sales, operations, or otherwise. If your organization is in growth mode, meaning that you are seemingly adding customers and employees constantly, your legal needs may require what is the equivalent of a full-time employee (FTE). However, one attorney may not have the skill-set for the varying demands of a legal department. Outsourced legal counsel, such as an outsourced technology attorney can provide the following benefits:
1. Particularized Knowledge
Technology attorneys, which typically mean attorneys with Intellectual Property and Internet Law skills and experience, can address legal needs that a general business or corporate attorney may not be able to. For example, your organization may utilize an outsourced technology attorney to secure and enforce your trademarks, copyrights and patents. In addition, a technology attorney can help structure and handle complex licensing deals involving software. Finally, there may be Internet privacy or online issues that require special knowledge of Internet laws and regulations.
In-house counsel tends to get bogged down with a whole variety of issues and competing interests. For example, sales want deals closed. An employment issue may interrupt what was planned for the day. IP monitoring and enforcement efforts may get overlooked, at least until a problem arises. Having a so-called “bench” of help can avoid the legal department becoming a bottle-neck to the business. The speed with which you can get advice on a particular issue involving technology, the Internet or IP, for example, allows your business to make informed decisions faster. Moreover, should litigation arise, knowing who to turn to immediately becomes important as time is of the essence.
3. Use As Needed, and Pay Accordingly
You may not be a tech company, but you have technology issues. Having the ability to utilize a go-to technology attorney as needed, without having to keep them on the payroll, can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Combine particularized knowledge of an issue, you can imagine how your organization can benefit from the efficiency.
For these reasons, when the time comes to establish or supplement the Legal Department, do not forget to consider utilizing outsourced legal counsel.