How to be cost-efficient with external counsel

Don't get a lawyer in to do a compliance consultant's work.

Eight insiders – CCOs, GCs and lawyers – give insight into how to work smartly with outside counsel, courtesy of our colleagues on Regulatory Compliance Watch. Among the nuggets of information: restrict yourself to hiring lawyers only when it’s a ‘legal issue’, turning instead to a compliance consultant for non-legal matters like compliance P&Ps and annual reviews. Don’t know which advisors to call? Our recently updated directory should be useful.

Other insights include:

– When hiring external counsel, ask very specific questions to ensure they have the right experience, such as whether they have handled an SEC investigation or written investment advisory agreements.

– Scrutinize the invoices and don’t be afraid to question the billing: “Because it’s one of those industries that is not transparent… so it’s very susceptible to being… a little inflated,” says one chief legal officer.

– Understand the significance of getting legal advice in writing. It may add to the bill, but it will also demonstrate the lawyer’s ability to stand by their opinion. You’d be surprised how often firms back off on the advice they were willing to give over the phone when you press for guidance in writing, says one CCO.

Elsewhere in the world of private funds: European firm Ambienta has followed TowerBrook Capital Partners in becoming a Certified B-Corporation. As we wrote earlier this year, the B-Corp stamp provides investors with a useful signpost as to how seriously a firm is taking sustainability.

Also – a reminder to mark these upcoming dates in your calendar.

Email prepared by Toby Mitchenall