Given the business and regulatory complexities of carrying on business in California, most companies benefit from having legal counsel they can consult on day-to-day business matters. This position is often filled by in-house counsel who typically knows the business, understands its nuances, and can provide advice on this basis.
However, many companies elect not to hire in-house counsel due to the costs of maintaining a full-time attorney on their payroll. In addition, the relatively limited experience a single attorney can bring often makes it more desirable to explore general counsel services with a larger firm.
The experienced business and commercial attorneys at Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs provide general counsel services to businesses of all sizes in California. Our general counsel services are tailored to provide companies with a broad spectrum of legal, business, and regulatory advice.
Due to the risk-fraught environment companies must often operate in, it is crucial to measure daily business decisions against best practices and regulatory requirements. Companies and small businesses can trust skilled legal counsel to continuously provide this advice, taking into consideration the business’s nuances and history.
To learn more about the general counsel services we provide at Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.
General counsel services we provide
Companies must pay attention to hundreds of regulatory matters, regardless of their size. Often, the larger the business’s size, the more regulatory housekeeping they will be required to do. Due to these commitments’ ongoing nature, they can often seem like an inconvenience, especially for a rapidly growing business.
However, managing legal risk is a non-negotiable for all businesses, and failing to do so can lead to issues that will threaten the company’s existence. Whether the company is a newly formed LLC looking to set its business in motion or a long-running corporation with interests all over the world, it is essential to have the benefit of constant legal advice.
Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs provide general counsel services designed to touch the most common areas where businesses require ongoing legal counsel. Our team consists of highly skilled attorneys experienced in diverse practice areas, including employment and labor law, corporate and commercial, general liability and business dispute resolution. Below, we explain some of these services and how we assist businesses in these areas.
Human Resources (HR)
Human resources is increasingly becoming one of the most important departments in large and small companies. With the steadily growing range of employment laws made to target employers in California, HR departments are doing more now than ever before.
Every action taken by HR involves important legal considerations that must be thought through before implementation. For instance, in conducting employment or promotion interviews, all companies must fulfill specific legal requirements. This includes avoiding certain illegal interview questions, requiring applicants to indicate their criminal history, or asking candidates about their salary history.
In addition, HR departments are required to maintain and transmit an increasing number of records to appropriate regulatory authorities. These include the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Without proper legal advice, HR relations and actions can quickly become a regulatory minefield for companies. This can result in costly litigation that not only taxes the company’s financial Management, but also affects their brand, reputation, and ultimately, their profitability.
Corporate governance is typically complicated and affects every aspect of companies’ daily business operation. These issues generally include best practices regarding board formation, membership, remuneration, and the ratio of executive to non-executive directors.
Companies with a strong corporate governance profile are more likely to attract large investors who seek reliable investments. These companies can better attract lucrative capital and financing opportunities due to their corporate governance processes’ relative strength.
However, creating and maintaining a strong corporate governance profile can be a complicated affair. Success in this area often requires the continuous involvement of legal counsel who understands the business, its goals, and corporate objectives. Retaining experienced general counsel will be vital to achieving this.
Companies that rely on general counsel can save on the time, cost, and effort involved in addressing corporate governance issues. This is because general counsel will only have to review documents, processes, and business activities once, compared to new legal counsel hired for every problem. As a result, businesses can save time and resources and make decisions faster with general counsel advising them.
Like HR, companies must identify and meet several regulatory obligations relating to their business policies. For instance, regulations made under disability, pregnancy, and workers’ leave laws require companies to include specific workplace policies.
Experienced legal counsel can assist with drafting these workplace policies to comply with necessary regulations and legal obligations. These policies will also need to be written in a way that meets the corporate goals of the company while ensuring the company can maintain a work environment that is attractive to employees.
Failing to ensure workplace policies are fair, inclusive, and legally compliant may cost the business in several ways. Hostile work environment and discrimination laws can be easily breached when companies do not pay conscious attention to their obligations in this regard.
As a result, we recommend that proper legal advice should be obtained in the initial ideation and formulation of business policies. Having sound legal advice from the ground up when formulating these policies ensures that all relevant issues are kept firmly in sight. Second, it is important that the actual task of writing these policies be borne by experienced counsel who understands how these laws operate and how to protect the business while remaining legally compliant.
Labor and employment
One of the most important resources that companies have available to them is their human resources. As a result, companies must take a 360-degree approach when planning, creating, and implementing employment policies. In California, especially where the employment laws are very liberal, keeping a firm eye on how internal policies comply with applicable laws and regulations is necessary.
Although companies can employ outside counsel to assist when employment issues or disputes arise, it is often best to avert these issues by being proactive. By retaining general counsel to advise the company concerning the development of its policies, companies can entirely avoid legal problems. This ensures they put in place robust policies that protect them should issues arise.
Companies enter contracts of all types and categories for business purposes. These may include contracts to supply goods or services, memorandums of understanding, marketing agreements, and other contract types. The benefits of these contracts often depend on how well they were written, and the legal protections built into them.
Even more important, business contracts should be written in a way that encourages performance while protecting the parties against a breach. One-sided contracts are never a good idea for either party. With the help of general counsel, companies can create contracts that encourage performance but still protect their interests.
The attorneys at Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs understand California contract laws and what terms may or may not be inserted in legal agreements. With the benefit of this knowledge, our clients can create contracts that will stand up in court, should the need arise.
Even more important, our attorneys understand the need to resolve disputes rapidly in the business world, as time often is money. We are experts at understanding each party’s goals and intentions with the contract and include critical fail-safes that protect the performance and swift dispute resolution.
In terms of regulatory issues, California businesses may have more to expect than most. The progressive business environment in the state means constant measures are being taken to create better work environments and help companies become useful members of society. However, this can significantly increase the regulatory burden of businesses operating within the state.
Businesses trust legal counsel who have their finger on the state’s regulatory pulse to ensure they can consistently remain on the right side of these regulations. Often, regulatory changes may require corresponding business changes in as little as a year. As a result, learning about, understanding, and plotting a proper course of action will be critical to rapidly implementing desired changes.
Other times, companies may require legal help with responding to regulatory inquiries from agencies within their industry. These situations often can be tense as agencies that find grounds for regulatory action can be implacable in their enforcement of applicable sanctions. It is best to liaise with legal counsel who understands the business and can defend it to prevent such legal consequences.
General counsel provides the best possible means of swift legal advice and representation in this regard. Since they already have a historical understanding of the business and the context of its decisions, they can provide legal defenses that best favor the circumstances.
Business dispute resolution
Finally, the business attorneys at Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs provide dispute resolution services to California companies. Business relationships can often get tested due to unanticipated issues in contractual arrangements, failure of performance, or unilateral actions by a party.
However, these disputes cannot be treated like other legal disputes between parties due to their commercial flavor. Business disputes are often time-sensitive, and it is often desirable to preserve the relationship of the disputing parties while ensuring neither party is unfairly prejudiced. As a result, companies require legal counsel to bring a creative approach to resolving business disputes in a swift and collaborative manner.
Through our general counsel services, we assist businesses with managing the risk of business disputes throughout the entire lifecycle of transactional and operational decision making. This means our attorneys maintain the long-view by providing buffers against litigation risk and implementing crucial clauses that facilitate dispute resolution.
Whether this requires including provisions for business mediation or arbitration, our attorneys can help resolve business disputes rapidly. Where necessary, our general counsel services also include providing litigation services, especially where litigation is desirable or unavoidable.
Contact Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs today.
Although the regulatory and business environment companies must exist in is fraught with risk, retaining experienced general counsel can help mitigate this risk and facilitate business growth.
Our attorneys understand a business operation’s complexity and are experienced at providing business-conscious legal advice to companies of all sizes. Organizations that require general counsel services can trust Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs to deliver the diverse expertise they need.
If you would like to discuss your company’s regulatory or business needs with our attorneys, please contact our law firm to set up a consultation today.