Top 3 Risk Events for a In-House Counsel

By Chris Combs

As an In-House Counsel and the person responsible for the legal operations at a company, each day you try to make sure that the your company remains legally safe and compliant. A good day for you is quiet and uneventful from a legal perspective. But don’t get too cozy, there’s a few scenarios that may come up that will throw you in the deep end. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Fundraising Diligence

If you’ve ever worked for a a hyper-growth technology company you know you’re always fundraising. During the fundraising process, investors dive deep the business from every angle, and your customer agreements or other negotiated contracts will be on the agenda, count on it. Those investors want to know about what’s buried inside these agreements with things like limitation of liability, automatic renewal, payment terms, data security, cancellation policies, and refunds. Getting the answer to these questions ready, in an aggregated summarized format will be key.

2. Acquisition or Other M&A Activity

Every day smaller companies are being acquired and bigger companies are adding to their portfolios through strategic acquisitions. These are some of the most exciting times to work at a company and the future is bright. As the In-House Counsel responsible for the company’s legal positioning, both events (being acquired and acquiring a company) will require a deep dive into contracts. You will be getting non-stop questions about the information contained within our contracts. Questions like, what are the renewal terms? What are the net payment terms? No matter what side of the deal you are sitting on, you will be a need to report on the details of contracts. Most importantly, try to find ways to avoid manual review, you know thats not a good spend of your hours during that time.

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3. Customer Disaster

You do everything you can as a company to prepare and prevent disasters but when Murphy’s Law strikes, you’ll be the person stuck trying to figure out what customer impact and legal ramifications. Some of the common scenarios we hear frequently are data breaches, security violations, and release of sensitive or personal information (PII). When this scenario pops up, the first thing you’ll do is try to access the exposure that you have and which customers are impacted by examining the agreements that you’ve executed. Don’t underestimate how long this will take, assume several hours minimum for a small group of 10-20 contracts and more hours as the number of contracts increases. Once you know which customers are impacted, now begins the communication with a plan of action. Send an email with the opportunity to follow up with a phone call to discuss the specific customer’s exposure.

If you’re someone who’s experienced a triggering event similar to what I’ve described, send us a short note to info (at), we’d love to hear your story and share some insights. Don’t get caught with a mountain of corporate data that is unsearchable, use LinkSquares to help you turn that information into an insight.

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