Minimum Wage General Counsel: The Concept
I’ve practiced law for 15 years - long enough to learn the things about my profession that create the love-hate relationship between "typical" lawyers and small to mid-sized businesses. Probably the biggest negative is the “billable hour.” It’s hard to imagine that the current legal services model is still largely based on the idea that the lawyer sends you a bill for the number of hours the lawyer has chosen to think about/work on your case last month. There is a better way! I call it “Minimum Wage General Counsel.”
Here’s how it works:
1. You need a good lawyer. Let’s face it: success always breeds enemies. There are long fine-print contracts designed to get you to do more or pay more than you should. There are regulations that overactive government bureaucrats will use to beat you down. You have enough employees that you now have to comply with a whole host of highly-technical federal and state statutes. There are people out there who will sue you for anything and everything – and it’s “when,” not “if,” these days. You interact with the legal world constantly, and I’ll take a wild guess that you probably didn’t go to law school on your way to building and running your company. In short, if you thought you could afford it, you’d have an experienced, in-house lawyer at your beck and call right now.
2. I am a good lawyer. As my entire career has centered on the courthouse (federal and state), I approach legal problems facing today’s businesses by working backwards from the eventual jury trial. Because of that, I can help avoid or minimize most legal problems way before they ever gets there. I’ve also owned my own small business (that wasn’t a law firm) employing multiple workers; so I understand the headaches facing today’s business owners. I love learning what makes businesses tick, and unless your business is literally rocket science, you’ll find that I’m a quick study on the fundamental issues you face once I get familiar with what it is that you do better than everyone else. And of course, what we talk about is always protected by attorney-client privilege (at least for the key decision-makers of the company). As an added bonus, I’ve spent the last five years honing my skills in handling employment law issues – for employees as well as employers. I can help make you an “unattractive target” for employment lawsuits.
3. You can afford this – it’s minimum wage! Take a look at the current legal market. If you paid normal hourly rates in Phoenix for a lawyer of my experience ($350-$400 per hour) and used me just 16 hours in a month, you’d pay $5,600-$6,400! You could shop around a little or use an unproven rookie to save a little bit, but you’re still paying thousands of dollars, and the bill goes up every time you want to call your lawyer and find out what is happened. Now imagine this: unlimited access to quality legal counsel (me) for the cost of minimum wage. That’s right. Here's the math to prove it: minimum wage in Arizona as of January 1, 2018 is $10.50 per hour. By the time you factor in payroll taxes, unemployment, worker's compensation insurance, etc., you will pay over $2,000 per month for a full-time 40-hour employee (and that's before benefits). So I'm rounding it down: for just $2,000 per month, you’ll have your general counsel. And you don't even have to provide me benefits!
How is this possible? I’ve committed to forming this exclusive relationship with only 10 companies like yours.
Could I handle more? Probably. I’ve had caseloads with upwards of 80 cases at once – handling phone calls, pleadings, hearings, and client communications in a blur of multi-tasking. But I’m limiting this deal to just 10 good companies so that you will each get the best of me. We’ll talk regularly. You can ask me any legal question related to your business. I may not know the answer off the top of my head, but I know how to find out! I’ll come to your business. I’ll review documents. I'll write documents. You’ll have my email and my cell phone and a dedicated web portal to upload anything you need me to see. If your business gets sued (and it’s something I’m competent to handle), you’ll get my hourly rate at just $175.00 per hour (half the usual rate!) on top of the monthly fee. That only applies to the litigation-specific tasks, of course – everything else is still already covered under your regular monthly fee. If you need a specialist attorney for a particular situation that I’m not competent to handle, I’ll help vet the good candidates for you (and, like any good general counsel does, I’ll make sure they’re not padding their bills!).
There is no expiration date on this deal – but once I get to 10 good relationships, I’m shutting this golden opportunity down. I’m not going to compromise my ability to provide top-level care to my clients by trying to do more than that. So take advantage of this arrangement while you can. Will you be one of the 10?