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Hiring In-House Counsel: Considerations in the Decision Making Process

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As a legal executive search firm, we are often asked by non-profit clients, “What are the benefits of hiring our own in-house counsel and how do I determine when the timing is right to hire our own General Counsel”? Here are factors to consider in making this determination:

Reduction of costs:  As a guideline, if a non-profit is spending $350,000 or more on an ongoing annual basis (not related to a law suit) on outside legal fees, it is an appropriate time to consider reducing expenditures on outside counsel by internalizing the legal function. Significant cost savings can be realized. 

Creating synergies and achieving greater efficiency:  When an attorney is employed directly by a non-profit organization, daily ongoing consultative resources are available to management and other levels of the organization. Real- time legal and legal operating advice is delivered by your own lawyer who as a key member of your organization is already intimately familiar with the organization and with leadership’s objectives and values.

Proactive business solution:  Attorneys that are employed directly by non-profits understand that management does not want to be told that its objectives cannot be achieved.  They understand their role as trusted advisors and they develop solutions that implement and realize objectives while minimizing risk to the organization.  We have seen attorneys not only become trusted advisors and partners to senior leadership but become proactive participants in the strategic and innovative direction of an organization.        

We thoroughly enjoy our non-profit work and have found exceptional attorneys who are motivated by a mission and welcome the opportunity to contribute to the on-going success of the institutions that they serve. Examples of non-profits that we serve are: Princeton University, The Museum of Natural History, the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, The University of Hartford and Stevens Institute of Technology.

Mary Clare Garber, Principal
Princeton Legal Search Group, LLC