What is Fractional General Counsel?
As a starting point, do not get fractional general counsel confused with in-house counsel. An in-house counsel is a licensed attorney that is a full-time employee (typically salaried with fringes and benefits) of your Nonprofit. A fractional general counsel is a part time licensed attorney (treated as an independent contractor) who provides on-going legal services to your Nonprofit at a flat-rate or fixed price structure.
The fractional general counsel or her law firm has other clients, but your Nonprofit receives a specific number of hours each month of dedicated service. For a set fee, you have access to this attorney for a legal emergency or for general legal advice. If you need additional services beyond the set number of hours per month, you typically pay an agreed upon hourly rate or set fee for specific services.
The benefits of receiving legal advice are the same across all industries. An attorney helps your organization solve legal (and many times business) problems in addition to ensuring your Nonprofit complies with all local, state and federal laws and regulations.
What are the Benefits of a Fractional General Counsel for Your Nonprofit?
Here are ten (10) benefits that your Nonprofit will enjoy when it retains a fractional general counsel:
1. Custom sized legal services at an affordable price. With fractional general counsel, you have an available attorney who knows and understands your Nonprofit and its mission. Most nonprofits will find that the annual cost of adding a fractional general counsel to its senior management team as about the same as an entry level staff member’s salary and benefits.
2. With a set fee for fractional general counsel, your Nonprofit can budget for professional services more accurately.
3. Your Nonprofit will get ongoing legal advice and review to ensure compliance with various federal, state, and local laws. Additionally, fractional general counsel can help your Nonprofit ensure compliance with the ‘private law’ of grant agreements (both government and private foundation).
4. Allows your Nonprofit to immediately add a new member to its senior management team on day one. Your fractional general counsel can be provided an organizational email address and can be listed on the Nonprofit’s website. Perhaps you provide your fractional general counsel with an office (thought this is not a requirement). Your fractional general counsel can attend dedicated meetings with senior management to discuss strategy that avoids litigation or serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the Nonprofit to ensure best corporate governance.
5. While the fractional general counsel has fixed price for services, there is always the potential for the Nonprofit to receive discounted legal services for additional work (such as litigation as either a Plaintiff or a Defendant).
6. Having fractional general counsel allows the Nonprofit to focus more on operations and mission instead of worrying about compliance and legal matters.
7. Your nonprofit will have timely access to an attorney team member when needed for answers to pressing questions (especially helpful when there are employment law questions that are not routine for your HR department).
8. If your fractional general counsel practices with a law firm, your Nonprofit will get more access to legal service in areas including employment benefits, civil litigation, and intellectual property matters.
9. Having a fractional general counsel can help you with grant applications that require lots of corporate governance training or monitoring/compliance. Seeing that the nonprofit has general counsel on its team may provide the final bit of assurance to the funder that your nonprofit is better poised than other applicants to manage and maintain compliance with a substantial grant amount.
10. With fractional general counsel, your Nonprofit is taking a proactive approach to risk management rather than a reactive approach. Regardless of the type or size of the Nonprofit, a reactive approach to dealing with legal matters and compliance increases risk of future liabilities. A proactive approach reduces the time and cost of dealing with a Nonprofit’s legal matters.
Hull & Chandler P.A. is pleased to announce that it is now offering fractional general counsel services to Nonprofits and Public Charities. If your Nonprofit is interested in learning more about these fractional general counsel services, please contact Attorney Rocky M. Cabagnot at 980-985-9458 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.