Client FAQs

HOW FLEX ENGAGEMENTS WORK

What do I have to do to sign up?

Contact us to start the conversation. We’ll schedule a time to talk with you to learn more about your business, legal team, and current needs. We’ll then propose a solution and recommend FLEX attorneys who we believe would best match your needs and team’s work culture. You’ll meet the attorneys and make a final selection. We’ll give you some paperwork to sign, and your FLEX attorney will get started.

How are FLEX engagements structured?

You commit upfront to a block of time to ensure the availability of the attorney and avoid the surprises that come with hourly billing. This can cover a wide range of commitment levels from a few hours a week over a quarter to full-time engagements lasting a year or more and (almost) everything in between (except by the hour… that’s what the law firm is for!).

Do I have to use the hours evenly throughout the engagement period?

We understand that your workflow may be a little uneven from week to week, and that’s fine! We encourage a lot of communication between you and the FLEX attorney about projects you see and the timing of those projects to help set expectations. The attorney will keep you updated regarding the “pace” of their hours and we’ll try to help you get the most value out of the commitment level you pick.

How does FLEX differ from staffing agencies?

Like other interim legal staffing agencies, we give you access to attorneys who will work with you on an in-house basis at cost-effective rates. But unlike those agencies, we’re the only service connected to an AmLaw100 firm and our internal staff consists primarily of formerly practicing attorneys.
This benefits our clients in several ways:

  • Our team of lawyer-trained staff consults with you and is better equipped to understand your legal needs than the typical staffing agency “sales” person or recruiter.
  • We carefully vet potential FLEX attorneys. Because we are a team of current and former lawyers, we can evaluate not only our candidates’ likability, but also test their substantive legal skills and negotiation style, so you can feel confident about the quality of your FLEX attorney and the work-style match.
  • FLEX attorneys can access Fenwick-created forms and knowledge management databases on your behalf at no cost.
  • If you’re also a firm client, FLEX attorneys can easily collaborate with your Fenwick team, as needed.*
  • You can easily access the top-tier experts at Fenwick for additional support or deeper expertise beyond the skills and expertise of your FLEX attorney.*

* Requires a separate engagement letter directly with Fenwick & West, and is billed separately at standard law firm rates.

Is FLEX the right solution every time I need legal help?

While we want to help every client grow and succeed, working with FLEX is generally best any time after the company’s initial start-up stage (usually post-Series B financing).

You might be an early-stage company that’s growing quickly and are contemplating hiring but not sure if it’s the right time. Or maybe you’re a late-stage company that needs to fill a substantial family leave.

The quickest way to figure out if FLEX is a good solution for you is to contact us about your current needs and growth plans.

ABOUT FLEX ATTORNEYS

What if my FLEX attorney doesn’t work out?

At FLEX, we pride ourselves in providing excellent client service. Once an engagement starts we have regular check-ins with both you and the attorney to make sure everyone is happy and things are running smoothly. Once in a rare while, however, things don’t work out quite as everyone planned, in which case, we’ll work hard to find an alternate solution for you as quickly as possible.

What if I want to hire my FLEX attorney?

While we hate to lose our lawyers, we believe that we shouldn’t stand in the way of true love. Of course, we believe that dating before committing is a good thing too, so try out our lawyers, and if you and our attorney see a future together, we charge a small conversion fee (it’s no more than you’d pay a recruiter), and we’ll give you our blessing.

Do I get the same lawyer throughout the engagement?

Yes. Assuming you and the FLEX attorney continue to enjoy working together, you will work with the same FLEX attorney throughout the engagement term. Of course, sometimes, our attorneys might find other opportunities and leave FLEX. If that happens, the internal team will work closely with you to find a new FLEX attorney who meets your needs.

Can FLEX attorneys do my patent work? What about litigation? Or an M&A deal?

Think of your FLEX attorney as your in-house counsel. In general, they can provide legal support for a wide range of day-to-day commercial contracts like:

  • sales deals
  • license agreements
  • developing or revising your standard form agreements
  • offer letters, NDAs and other routine agreements

Depending on their level of experience and expertise in particular legal areas, they may also be able to help manage outside counsel on M&A transactions, litigation matters, or patent portfolio management, but they generally do not do this work on their own.

Will my FLEX attorney work onsite?

This depends on the engagement commitment level you choose and your preference. Generally, at the smaller commitment end, the FLEX attorneys usually work remotely with our clients and come onsite if necessary for pre-arranged meetings. If you want someone full-time, typically the attorney will work with you onsite, or a combination of onsite and remotely. However, let us know what your requirements are and we’ll recommend attorneys who match those needs.

What is FLEX’s vetting process for attorneys?

We do all of the standard screening processes that you might expect: phone and in-person interviews, background checks, reference checks, good standing checks.

However, because our internal team consists of currently and formerly practicing attorneys, we can evaluate, not only our candidates’ likeability, but also their substantive legal skills and negotiation style by asking them to take a test and, for attorneys who make it onto our bench, we use the results as data points when matching attorneys with our clients.

Are FLEX attorneys Fenwick & West lawyers?

FLEX attorneys are sometimes Fenwick alums, but none are currently partners or associates of the firm. To provide clients with attorneys who can hit the ground running, we generally recruit lawyers who have significant in-house experience in addition to their law firm experience and who are interested in working on in-house assignments.

FLEX AND FENWICK

How is FLEX related to Fenwick & West?

FLEX is an in-house counsel staffing service offered by Fenwick & West. We generally operate independently of the firm’s structure, so we have our own internal team and we specially recruit attorneys from outside the firm.

But we also share where it makes sense for us, the firm, and our clients. For instance, we’ve taken over some unused space in Fenwick’s San Francisco office, which allows us to easily reach out to Fenwick partners and associates to provide support to our FLEX attorneys. It has the added benefit of keeping our overhead costs low, which means we can pass along those savings to you as well.

Can I work with FLEX if I’m not a Fenwick & West client?

Absolutely! There are certain things we won’t be able to provide until you become a client of Fenwick, for instance, access to the law firm’s additional expertise. But, even if you’re a client of another law firm, you’ll always get high-quality lawyers at cost-effective prices, managed by our legally-trained internal staff.

How does working with FLEX differ from working with a law firm?

Think of FLEX as your in-house team. Fenwick (and other law firms) are still available when you need outside counsel, but when you have significant and growing day-to-day legal needs and want predictable fees, that’s a great time to contact us.