Our first step is to understand your business. We do that through the GCI Business Assessment, a combination of interviews and our proprietary GCI Assessment Surveys. Based on that Assessment, we prepare a written report of our findings and recommendations, and we discuss that with you in depth to make sure we got it right and to make sure we are on the same page in respect to next steps. We charge a flat fee for this Assessment, usually between $1,500 – $4,000 depending on the nature of the company and the scope of our relationship.
Businesses often engage attorneys only after problems and emergencies arise, when it’s already too late to head off issues and liabilities. That is a “why change the oil when you can always buy a new engine?” approach to business.
The General Counsel Initiative is about law, business and common sense – and common sense dictates that counsel should concentrate on using the law to help you spend less time fixing your business and more time running your business with a strategic, profit-driven focus. That is what we do, and that is how we add value.
We structure General Counsel Initiative services and fees with this in mind. Every engagement is different, but we generally include the following components, tailored toward the circumstances.
The GCI Business Assessment
The Routine Communications and Meetings Retainer
We add the most value if we are involved and up-to-speed. Our legal background gives us a perspective, and the ability to spot issues and formulate solutions, you may not have. We need to operate behind the scenes (and sometimes out front) as, not after, potential employee problems are unfolding, or as customer disputes arise, or as contracts are being discussed…
At the same time, we know that many businesses dislike the idea of receiving a separate bill each time they consult with counsel. Most of our GCI clients prefer to pay a sum of money in advance on a quarterly basis, essentially “banking” their ability to call on us when needed, without always having to worry about the “meter”. For those clients, we establish a quarterly Routine Communications and Meetings Retainer. The retainer varies widely (usually in the $500 — $3,000 range), in that some GCI clients need us on virtually a daily basis, and some much less frequently.
We do keep track of our time – but we do not live by the “meter”. If our time exceeds the quarterly retainer by less than 25%, we write off the overage. Otherwise, we discuss a fair arrangement to compensate us for our services based on the value we provided, and move on to the next quarter.
Fixed-Fee and Not-to-Exceed Fee Arrangements
We provide project-based services as needed: contract drafting, cybersecurity troubleshooting, business planning, deal structuring, real estate leasing and acquisitions, risk management, tax minimization, compliance procedures, dispute resolution … and so on. It is incumbent on us to handle these projects efficiently – based on value, not time. If we take too long to complete the required tasks, that’s on us, not you.
Consequently, we focus on fixed-fee and not-to-exceed fee arrangements wherever feasible.
Sometimes, we cannot use these approaches – for example, when there is another attorney involved in a negotiation or a litigation, we cannot control what that attorney does or the tactics that attorney utilizes (in those instances, we use other creative approaches designed to keep fees within reasonable limits). And we usually need to include an adjustment contingency in the arrangement to account for circumstances and developments that could not be reasonably foreseen. But as a core principle of what we do, we believe that a general counsel relationship is based on value, not just time.
Status and Planning Conferences
On a scheduled, quarterly or semi-annual basis (according to client preference and relevant circumstances) we meet with you to make certain that we know what we need to know, to track the progress of ongoing matters, to add or change course as required, and to make certain that we are meeting your needs. We do not charge for these meetings.