Faceless lawyering can occur in two forms:  the expensive kind and the dirt-cheap kind.  Both kinds are not good for business, and pretty much for the same reason.  (So it turns out you don’t always get what you pay for.)

The Expensive Version of Faceless Business Lawyering

The expensive version of faceless lawyering may surprise you:  many traditional law firms.  Why are these traditional law firms faceless?  Because the partner who brings a company in as a client isn’t usually the lawyer who’s doing the actual work.  That’s because the job of the known partner is usually to be the “rain maker,” the attorney whose job is to merely bring in the clients.  The actual lawyering is done by usually faceless – because unknown to the company hiring the law firm –“service lawyer,” a lawyer who does that actual work.  Often a company’s work is divided between a number of such services lawyers, many of them very junior people.  Those service lawyers likely don’t know anything about the task they’re performing other than what they were told by the partner.  Often that information isn’t much at all.  The service lawyers certainly won’t know the company from the inside.   So the solutions they come up with won’t be tailored to the particular needs of the company except on the broadest level.  But all the creativity that comes from understanding the nuances will be absent from their legal work.

So why do businesses accept this kind of faceless lawyering, even though it is expensive?  Usually for two reasons.  First, because they don’t realize that that’s the way that traditional law firms operate.  They think that the partner they’re using is doing the work, and they only realize he or she isn’t doing the work when they realize that the partner they’ve been dealing with really doesn’t know much about their business or even their legal work at all.  This often comes as something of a shock.  Second, the client often falls victim to the “brand” of the law firm.  “Firm X is a top firm.”  But that doesn’t really tell you how Firm X works.  It could and usually does work in a faceless way, especially for smaller to mid-size businesses.  The brand of the traditional law firm tells a client nothing about who is working on that client’s matters.

The Cheap Version of Faceless Business Lawyering

The cheap version of faceless lawyering is well know.  It consists of the law in a box or rocket lawyer type of template solutions.  You can purchase this kind of agreement and that kind of agreement.  But the pitfalls of this kind of faceless lawyering is obvious:  Just as it’s not a great idea for a non-medical-professional to practice medicine, so, too, there’s a certain experience that a seasoned business lawyer brings to the table that can provide solutions for particular business that general, non-specific faceless lawyering can never provide.

So why do so many companies turn to faceless business lawyering solutions?  For lack of a better solution.

That’s where fractional general counsel services come in.  Outsourced fractional general counsel services can provide the inexpensive price points of faceless lawyering.  But instead of being faceless, your dedicated in-house outsourced fractional general counsel attorney is also the person who will do your work and who will get to know your business – and all this remotely and comfortably from your desk.  That’s why outsourced fractional general counsel services have made tremendous inroads into the business law market for smaller and mid-sized businesses.

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