A blog about making your business leaner, faster and smarter

Top Requests from General Counsel to Law Firms

The role of the senior in-house lawyer has changed dramatically and now often involves acting as project manager, educator, record-keeper, and advisory to the Board. Their focus is increasingly on risk management, compliance and governance, as well as commercial considerations in a world increasingly focused on data security and data privacy. Pressures Facing General Counsel Now According to a survey entitled Global Agenda study Report: Issues & Priorities for Senior In-House Counsel Worldwide, conducted by the World Law Group in conjunction with LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® (World Law Group, Autumn 2012), among the top pressures facing general counsel now are two competing priorities: An increasingly difficult regulatory environment with the resulting ethics and compliance challenges as well as data privacy and data security issues. The need for cost control and efficient general counsel operations. Source: http://webcasts.acc.com/handouts/9.18.13_EMEA_LQH_Slides3.pdf These competing pressures are driving what general counsel want and need from their internal and external lawyers …

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New Direct Invoicing feature launch

As UpCounsel grows and our community becomes stronger, so do our tools and offerings. I am excited to announce the launch of our new invoicing tool, which enables lawyers nationwide to send invoices to their clients and easily collect payment online through UpCounsel. Today we are making this free tool available to all Registered and Verified attorneys on UpCounsel. We’ve created an easy way to send invoices to all your clients as well as receive payments as soon as the next day! This is much faster than waiting for checks in the mail, using Paypal and much more. Since we see this tool as the fastest way to get paid as an attorney, we hope to see you adopt this as your primary method of billing for your clients moving forward. Let me show you how it works with a little walk through. This is just one of many exciting …

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What General Counsel Want and Need from Outside Counsel

The job description for general counsel is varied and changeable. A GC must not only interface with company employees and executives but also act as manager and liaison with outside legal services. It can often be a difficult situation to balance the legal needs of the company with overall internal issues like budget cutbacks and increased regulation. That is why general counsel are beginning to make more demands from their outside counsel, particularly in the areas of flexibility and innovation. Cost Effective Services One of the biggest concerns for general counsel would come as no surprise to even an average consumer of legal services: cost effectiveness. In the heyday of Wall Street and a booming economy it may have been easier to demand only the best legal services, which can come with a hefty price tag. Today, companies are generally exercise more control over budgets and not letting expenses spiral …

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What’s Zapping your Employee Productivity?

Employee productivity is a measure of both efficiency and effectiveness. Signs of a productive workplace include things like: Reduced payroll costs Increased profit margins Enthusiastic customers Essentially these features equate to getting more done in less time, staying on task and on budget, and making more money and all of that is supposed to lead to greater employee productivity. Most business owners and C-level management believe that employee productivity is a key business metric to watch. Current business wisdom indicates that happy employees are productive employees and business owners have spent a great deal of time and energy keeping employees loyal, engaged, and focused to keep them happy. They also spend a great deal of time working to establish workplaces, processes, and a culture that encourages employee productivity. While all that effort is supposed to promote greater employee productivity, some work habits and office policies are zapping employee productivity. A …

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Are Employee Engagement Surveys All That They’re Cracked Up to Be?

In the world’s top economies – all 12 of them – over half of the companies with at least 100 workers are surveying the heck out of them. Entire companies have been born simply to survey employees. In particular, these survey companies want to understand employee engagement. Their mission is to ‘make employees happier’ and they share the results of those surveys to management as evidence of where their company can improve and how they can create the perfect workplace and be rewarded with super levels of productivity. According to many business writers, leaders are supposed to pay loads of attention to their employees’ circumstances, create a stress-free environment where happy workers produce amazing results, and then the company’s stock price goes through the roof. According to TINYPulse.com, who surveys over 300 companies around the world every week and analyzes over 40,000 anonymous responses, there are some important trends for …

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4 Things You Need to Know About Employee Surveys

For all executives and managers, including general counsel, knowing what is really going on with employees is essential for being able to effectively manage and grow a business. Festering dissatisfaction and other issues can lead to instability, high turnover, and high costs for the company that both direct and indirect. Further, perceived employee issues that go unaddressed can lead to legal issues down the road. These are just some of the reasons that employee surveys that aim to uncover issues within the organization should be conducted regularly. Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as just asking an employee how they are. These five tips should help general counsel and other executives determine the best reasons – and the best ways – to conduct an effective employee survey. Measuring Engagement Alongside Excellence is More Effective Oftentimes, human resources or other managers will focus employee surveys on the key metric of …

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Selling your Business – the Legal Roadmap

You may have thought about selling your business right from the start but even if it never occurred to you until lately, you’re going to need a good legal roadmap to go by if you’re going to have a successful outcome. Selling a business is both an art and a science. We’ve written out a legal roadmap for small, closely held startups, but many of these principles apply to larger transactions too. What Makes a Business Attractive to Buyers Many elements of a business make it attractive to potential buyers, including: A solid history of profitability A large and loyal customer base A well-defined competitive advantage Clear opportunity for growth A desirable location A skilled workforce All of these elements also factor into the valuation, which we’ll go into later. Are YOU Ready to Sell? Of course, it’s important to be both financially and emotionally ready to sell. Business owners …

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UpCounsel Launches Outside General Counsel Program

We at UpCounsel are excited to publicly announce our Outside General Counsel program. For months, our customers were ecstatic about our remarkable ad hoc legal services. But time and time again, they kept asking for our lawyers to be long-term team members for their companies – to know their companies and be true legal advisors. Since our mission is to create a remarkable legal experience, enter the Outside General Counsel program. How We Made It Happen First, we had to find the right lawyers. Since UpCounsel only takes the best lawyers, this wasn’t hard. But from our communities in San Francisco and New York City, we selected attorneys who had a minimum of 13 years of experience, who came from top law firms and companies, and who had experience serving as outside general counsel to small and large companies. Second, we had to make sure that our Outside General Counsel …

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Responsive Law on Fee Sharing, Innovation, and the Consumer Interest

  It’s an exciting time for the legal services industry. Companies like UpCounsel, LegalZoom, and the UK’s Co-operative Legal Services are proving that there are viable alternatives to the traditional (and expensive) attorney-client model. In this transitioning landscape, Responsive Law serves as the voice of the everyday consumer. Responsive Law is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to increase access, affordability, and accountability in the legal system. Protecting consumer interests is one of our core objectives, one which is often best accomplished by advocating for right-sizing regulation of the legal services industry. Regulation is a double edged sword. This set of rules and laws varies from field to field, and in many cases they help protect customers and ensure fair business practice. For example, pharmaceutical companies must submit new drugs to the FDA for approval, which helps protect consumers from worthless “snake oil” products. In the legal world, laws …

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5 Ways General Counsel Can Be Prepared for Scrutiny from Government Regulators

Working as in-house counsel can be challenge enough, but when you are in an industry that requires heavy government regulation, things can get even more tangled. We only need to take one look at the case brought against GlaxoSmithKline vice president and in-house counsel Lauren Stevens in 2010 to see some of the potential land mines in a highly regulated industry like pharmaceuticals. Ms. Stevens was indicted on charges that she knowingly kept relevant information from government regulators, which was akin to lying to government officials. While the GSK case was dismissed, lead prosecutor Sara Bloom has been adamant that she feels the Department of Justice was right to issue the indictment and that she would do so again. This knowledge undoubtedly raises some fear in the hearts of in-house counsel who previously felt safe, nestled behind their own cries of privilege. If you are working or plan to work in …

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