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General Counsel Service - An Alternative to Hourly Billing

Our firm is taking steps to improve the relationships with our business clients, with the objective of becoming more akin to an in-house legal department with intimate knowledge of our clients’ businesses and the ability to avoid legal problems before they arise. We view the hourly billing model, as applied to day to day legal needs, as the biggest obstacle to achieving this objective.

If you have ever made the decision not to call an attorney before signing a “small contract” because you could not justify the cost of paying for a few hours of your attorney’s time for such an insignificant agreement, or if you have ever written off bad debt because the cost of involving your attorney outweighed the benefit of collecting on the debt, then you may be interested in a new program Penzien & McBride, PLLC is offering our business clients; we call the program the “General Counsel Plan”.

The idea behind the General Counsel Plan is to remove the barriers to accessing our firm’s resources by setting up a predictable, subscription based fee structure. For a set monthly fee, we will be available to perform the duties an in-house attorney would perform at larger organizations, without adding an executive level salary to your operating budget. This alleviates the hesitation to pick up the phone or send an email for fear of having .25 hours billed to your business at the end of the month. We believe this billing model will strengthen the relationships between our firm and our business clients and remove a lot of distrust that business owners often feel toward their outside legal representatives and their drive to bill more hours; the result will be more open communications and a better understanding of your business which we can use to predict and avoid larger (more costly) legal troubles down the road.

Obviously, no two businesses are exactly the same and, as a result, no two businesses will require the exact same level of legal services under the General Counsel Plan. If your business is interested in signing up for this plan, we will sit down and determine a monthly rate which we feel is appropriate for your situation. We will then monitor the needs of your business and periodically adjust the rate to make sure the plan continues to make sense for your business needs.

Sample Services Available Under the General Counsel Plan[i]:

  • Access to Penzien & McBride, PLLC attorneys via telephone or email for legal questions
  • Legal research related to various business matters
  • Review and update of corporate documents (Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Stock Certificates, Buy-Sell Agreements, Minutes, etc.)
  • Attorney attendance at annual and special meetings of the owners and Board of Directors
  • Contract reviews
  • Human resources assistance, including maintenance of Employee Handbooks and advice regarding employment policies
  • Lease negotiations and other small real estate transactions
  • Involvement with CPA and other business advisors to ensure all legal plans work well with tax and financial plans
  • Negotiations with banks and outside investors
  • Routine collection matters
  • Advice regarding succession planning to pass the business to the next generation
  • Significant discounts on hourly rates for litigation and other matters not covered by the plan.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any interest in signing up for this sort of plan. We will continue to provide services on a traditional hourly basis to any clients who are more comfortable with that arrangement.

(586) 690-4400