In today’s competitive environment, it is imperative for every organisation, big or small, to hire a legal counsel.
A legal counsel is an in-house team of consultants, utilised for the legal aspects of an organisation. They may specialise in corporate law with a track record of working in-house or at a law firm.
The team is chiefly responsible for overseeing all legal aspects of a business that safeguards reputation and long- term existence of an organisation. Their mettle is proved through the actions taken at any legal stalemate, proving them to be an invaluable part, through tougher times.
It is an obvious fact that hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake, especially when you are experiencing legal troubles or about to undergo major structural changes such as acquisitions, going public and so on. To prevent situations from elevating, your questions need to be tailored as closely to your industry and required skills. Here are a few integral questions that will help you evaluate the competency of the hire.
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What Does Investigation Says?
Prior to the interview, deep-dive into a diligent, historic, and present reference check. This will help you gauge their legal capabilities, including knowledge of contract writing and pre/post negotiation, as well as their strategic and interpersonal propensity before going into a decision. Accordingly, get information about their legal network and see if they have a credible backing to support their body of work.
Will They Wait To Get Paid?
Once the decision is made, have your attorney work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay them until you’re funded. This will insure your organisation from cases of bankruptcy and fraudulent legal snags, as you proceed with the advisor. On contingency, they do not have the position to file your patents, but will help integrate the functionaries in the company, draft the founder agreement (RSPAs) as well as the employment and consulting agreements. The majority of large firms will work on contingency upfront. Refuse if they ask for equity, urging them to invest instead. This will help in consolidation of the organisation in the longer run.
Are They Board Savvy?
Attorneys should be proficient with board meetings, as they are needed to attend them more than an average person. A very strategic attorney can assist you in managing your board in a financially sound level. He/she can also offer observations on the functioning of other board members and disseminate pertinent strategies. This would provide an unbiased picture of the board, based on which further expansion would be undertaken. When you have issues with your board or investors, an expert attorney can be a mediator, and help reach a beneficial settlement. You’re bound to have challenges in the path to success, and would look to your attorney for counsel.
Who Else Do They Represent?
Scrutinise carefully before concluding as proceeding with caution may be prudent. Often, larger firms also represent investors, giving birth to a conflict of interest. This is a critical juncture that needs to be handled with sensitivity. If your firm represents one of your investors, they are aiding in bringing other companies in your investor’s burgeoning portfolio, in-turn making thousands of dollars in billable hours from your investor. In such situations, your attorney would turn to the more profitable side. Today, you would want an attorney with no conflicts of interest, one who’s dedicated to your side.
An interview that includes these four questions is certain to give you a more comprehensive understanding of your candidate’s key competencies, but depending solely upon these will not do him/her juonesty and integrity, as well as leadership ability. With all these questions, zeroing in to the apt candidate would be a much fruitful affair.