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Outsourced In-House Counsel

By Ari Kaplan with Amy Osteen.

Ari Kaplan speaks with Amy Osteen, the founder of Outside CLO, a service for corporations that need an outsourced chief legal officer, about why a company would outsource its in-house counsel needs, how that work differs from outside counsel at a law firm, and how the pandemic has impacted the appeal of outsourced in-house counsel services.


Ari Kaplan

Tell us about your background and the genesis of Outside CLO.


Amy Osteen

I have an engineering background and started my legal career as a patent attorney. Then, I migrated into litigation before being recruited by an investment bank, where I spent 10 years moving through the different departments and companies that it owned. I developed a strong legal background in various areas and took a general counsel position for a technology company with an open source software program. After three years, I became the chief legal officer for Rug Doctor, the carpet cleaning company, and spent five years in that role before launching Outside CLO.


Ari Kaplan

Why would a company outsource it's in-house counsel needs?


Amy Osteen

The companies that I serve are at the precipice of growth, but do not have the budget for a typical general counsel or chief legal officer. They need more of an air traffic controller for their outside counsel and an internal advisor to help with strategy, who can perform associated legal work, before they can truly afford a general counsel. At that stage, it makes a lot more sense to have someone like me two days a week versus a junior, full-time attorney who may not have the same breadth of experience.


Ari Kaplan

How does what you do differ from the work of outside counsel?


Amy Osteen

I help companies hire the right outside counsel and deploy the appropriate attorneys on their cases so they get the most qualified person for their money.


Ari Kaplan

Do you concentrate on a specific industry?


Amy Osteen

It is more of a growth stage, rather than an industry. That said, most of my clients are technology or products companies because those, especially during the pandemic, that are growing really fast. They need to save their gunpowder to spend the money on items beyond outside law firm bills. If they are going to spend the money on outside legal bills, they want the best for their buck and need someone with the experience to support their efforts.


Ari Kaplan

What's your business model?


Amy Osteen

My goal is for clients to outgrow me and I want them to get to a point where they need a full time chief legal officer, which is not me. Most of the time, I do not bill hourly. There is a set amount of time I can work for a client per month and we decide on a fee. I don’t bill for telephone calls or other activities that like a law firm because I really don't have any overhead.


Ari Kaplan

How has the pandemic impacted the appeal of outsourced in house counsel services like this?


Amy Osteen

I have seen a really wonderful increase in my business and people are interested in the business model. I had a head start because I started setting this up in January so I hit the ground running with a client base of small companies. It just continued to grow when people continued to understand that I can demonstrate efficiency and cost savings.


Ari Kaplan

What does the growth of outsourced legal services indicate about where the profession is headed?


Amy Osteen

Companies are looking for lawyers that think more like an in-house attorney than one in a law firm. There is beauty in this system for lawyers that are specialized and willing to develop a symbiotic relationship with their clients. It will continue to grow and the support that I have received from the in-house community has been overwhelming.

Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the

legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change, and introduce new technology at http://www.ReinventingProfessionals.com.


Listen to his conversation with Amy Osteen here: https://www.reinventingprofessionals.com/outsourced-in-house-counsel/



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