Cole, Scott & Kissane’s New GC Services PracticeCapitalizes on Influx of Small Businesses

Launched in April, the 10-lawyer practice caters to small and midsize business owners, providing high-level advice on contracts, liability and corporate governance, and bringing in attorneys from other practices for specialized matters.

August 08, 2021 at 04:51 PM
Reporter: Dan Roe
Source: Daily Business Review

What You Need to Know
+ Former Allied Solutions CLO Michael Clouser joined the firm in April to found the practice.
+ Clouser also held in-house roles at Kemper Corporation and Nationwide Insurance.
+ The practice services companies with and without GC's, in areas such as contracts, corporate governance, and liability.

In April, the 541-attorney Florida law firm Cole, Scott & Kissane launched a GC services practice aimed at small and midsize companies with a variety of legal needs. Four months later, practice founder Michael Clouser said there's been no shortage of businesses willing to contract out tasks often performed by in-house general counsel,

“A lot of these business owners are running their companies on the fly, and they don’t have the legal support they probably need,” Clouser said in an interview. “We thought it was a good way to provide value to small and midsize businesses.”

Clouser arrived with two decades of in-house experience, including nine years as assistant GC at Nationwide Insurance and two years as insurance regulatory counsel for insurance provider Kemper. Most recently, Clouser was senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary at Allied Solutions, which provides insurance, marketing, and lending products to financial institutions.

The impetus for the practice was an alumni meeting of the University of Miami School of Law, at which Cole, Scott co-founder Gene Kissane and Clouser discovered that they could help each other. Cole Scott was looking to expand its nonlitigation practices, and Clouser noted the demand from the influx of entrepreneurs into the Sunshine State.

“I told Gene I thought there was a market for GC services to small and midsize companies — even larger companies, when they lose staff,” Clouser said.

Clients include companies that have in-house counsel and those that don’t. Many clients are in highly regulated industries, asking for quick responses to questions about compliance. Others need contracts for vendors or advice on structuring a board.

After meeting with a new client to assess their legal needs, Clouser formulates a team of Cole Scott lawyers from within the 10-attorney practice and elsewhere in the firm, depending on client needs.

“That core group of folks can understand the business, what their pain points are, and that makes it seamless in terms of getting them the answers they need,” Clouser said. “As a 600- attorney law firm, we can provide specific expertise and get answers quicker than a small in- house legal staff”

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