Subscription Plans Disrupt Traditional Billing Models for Law Firms, Give Clients Greater Control

Lawyer “Subscription Plans” – that’s what the American Bar Association calls it in this article.

Subscription models are changing billing practices for large and small corporations.

Businesses are hiring key consultants – whether they are lawyers, accountants or other professionals, as the circumstances require – on a part-time contract basis.

Has your business grown to the point that you now need a corporate lawyer to be your firm’s acting General Counsel? Has your company reached a new milestone, such as negotiating the lease for new office space, thinking about a costly software contract to modernize your operations, or do you want to offer your employees a stock option plan to try to keep your most talented performers?

As your company approaches new milestones, it may be the right time to obtain some additional support and counsel for your growing business.

You can save a substantial amount by hiring someone on a part-time basis, paying a monthly fee for 25 to 30 hours of the lawyer’s time. Usually, firms will offer a discount on their standard hourly fee for the commitment to a “bucket of hours” from the client each month to handle whatever legal issues may arise, as they come up.

Having “on demand”, “as needed” counsel is beginning to disrupt traditional strategic consulting firms, as corporations are asking for new billing arrangements that ensure the consultant gains an in-depth understanding of the client’s business while still keeping legal expenses predictable.

You never know when a legal issue might arise – business can change in the blink of an eye. Rather than having to hire someone who knows nothing about your business, make a small investment in having someone literally “on call” who knows all about your business.

Fortune magazine says that 23% of all businesses who fail do so because they didn’t have to right team to lead the business. If your management team doesn’t have all the skills you need, then get outside help. It may be a lot more affordable than you realize.

Start building your team of advisors today! Fractional Executive Services for growing companies. (315) 877-1741

For more information, call or email me at the link below. Thanks very much.

Outsourcing Legal Services Expected to Grow By Over 30% in the Next Five Years

A recent article from Yahoo! Business says that companies are moving to outsource legal services to hold down costs. The authors see more than 30% of corporate spending on legal services moving to part-time executives in the next 5 years.

The reasons are obvious, especially for growing companies. As companies scale up, their need for sophisticated, experienced professional advisors grows with the complexity of the business. But as you’re still growing, it can be expensive for a “scale-up” business to bring on a bunch of full-time executives.

As all sorts of services move to an “on demand” paradigm, it’s only natural that some companies tire of their current legal arrangements, with outside firms charging big hourly rates, and using your cases to teach young lawyers, rather than you getting the benefit of experienced counsel.

But there’s a better way! Look into hiring a Fractional General Counsel – you subscribe to a certain package of hours per month that the lawyer in on call for you. Keep your legal expenses predictable and within budget.

The lawyer gets the benefit of having a deeper relationship with a handful of key clients, rather than having to juggle 75-100 different client matters at a time, and having to rely on staff to do many of the more mundane tasks that companies sometimes require.

Have a personal relationship with your lawyer by making them part of your team, not just an expense to be managed. Call or email me to find out how a Fractional Executive may be the right answer for your business.

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Matthew Van Ryn, Esq. (315) 877-1741

Thank you.

Fractional Executives – Have You Heard About This New Trend?

Many companies who are growing get to the point where the founders may need some outside experts to help them with new challenges, or just to manage demands on the executive’s time. One solution that business owners are turning to is the use of “fractional executives”.

Part-Time Professional Services from Experienced Specialists in their field.

Fractional executives are professionals in their fields, typically finance, information technology or legal services, who are experts in working with growing businesses. These professionals offer their time to the company, usually at a reduced fee compared to their usual rates, in exchange for a commitment from the company to purchase a block of their time each month.

The skills you need, when you need them.

This is beneficial to both parties. For the company, they get access to expert advice and services from experienced professionals on an “as needed” basis, usually for a monthly fee that is far more affordable than hiring a full-time CFO, IT Director or General Counsel. The company gets a monthly invoice for access to the service provider, and has a cap on the fees that they pay for the services. So there is no surprise in the bill, and the company can get the advice or professional services they need with a phone call or an email.

From the service provider’s perspective, you find that many fractional executives have a great deal of experience in their industry, but may be working with a handful of growing businesses on part-time basis as they ease into retirement. Many of these service providers are happy to offer a discount on their usual fees in exchange for a predictable revenue stream from a small handful of clients. The business gets expert advice, and the service provider does not have to juggle so many client relationships.

Chosen as one of the Top 100 Corporate Attorneys in New York State

If you would like to learn more about fractional executives for your business, and you would like some recommendations for professionals in my business network who are available for these kinds of service arrangements, feel free to give me a call at (315) 877-1741, or email me at .

Panelist at SU Law Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium

Last Friday, I had the privilege of being a panelist at Syracuse University School of Law’s Fifth Annual Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium. The event coincided with the Law School’s Open House for students admitted for the Fall, so the Law School was packed. The panel was held in the Moot Court Room, pictured below, which is two stories tall (!)

Dineen Hall, the graduate law building, at Syracuse University.

My panel discussed the Music Modernization Act, which was passed by Congress last fall, to ensure that songwriters and music publishers get a fair royalty from streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, which now account for almost half of all music business revenue.

Opening Act for the Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium

Following a nice networking lunch, in the afternoon I attended a panel discussion led by ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg, talking about amateurism in college sports, recent court cases about athletes’ name and image rights, and some predictions regarding how much longer the current system will stand.

Seth Greenberg on the set of College GameDay (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

On our music business panel, it turned out that two of us both had worked for Martin Bandier, the music business mogul who founded the Bandier Program at Syracuse University in their Newhouse School of Communications.

The program was created with a gift from Marty to the school, so that they could teach students what it is like to work in the music business, from a practical perspective. The head of the Bandier Program at Newhouse, Bill Werde, was a former editor at Billboard magazine, and was our moderator. You can learn more about the Bandier Program at the link below:

It was a terrific day! I made some new friends and contacts. I admit that I had to “study up” on the latest music business developments to be able to contribute to the discussion, and I even got some CLE credits for the day.

Beautiful way to spend a gorgeous Friday in Syracuse.

When Does Business “Take Root”?

I read a really interesting article in Forbes recently, which is linked below. We’ve all read the statistics about how small businesses account for the vast majority of job growth (and innovation) in this country. But when does a “start-up” turn into a “scale up” – that is, a business that is truly growing and dynamic? What are the milestones and challenges facing these business owners to move your business out of the garage and into bright, shiny new offices?

According to Forbes, small to medium enterprises (SME’s) account for 60-70% of all employment growth worldwide! As bigger companies downsize, they have been seeking out subcontracting opportunities with smaller firms who can take over back office operations cost-effectively for the downsizing larger firm.

But when opportunity knocks on your door, you need to be careful to manage your growth. One of the following milestones usually signal your company’s leap from “Start Up” to “Scale Up”:

  • Moving to a Bigger Office
  • Rapid Increase in Customers
  • Launching a New Website or Social Media Presence
  • Starting to Do Business Internationally
  • Implementing a More Reliable Payment System
  • Hiring an HR Service to Offer Employee Benefits
  • Investing in Customer Experience, and Not Just Products
It Takes a Leap of Faith to Cross the Chasm

These changes do more than give you a bigger office – sometimes they transform the culture of your business. This happens in so many small ways that sometimes we don’t even notice until after the change has already happened. Bigger offices means you might not see your employees as much during the day. Feedback may become more formal. Your interactions with customers may be changed, as well. It’s up to you to make sure you manage this change for the better, and not sit by as a passenger to what’s happening around you.

I have 30 years of experience helping companies grow from “start-ups” to “scale-ups”. If your business is hitting one of these growth milestones, it’s time for you to identify a trusted legal advisor to help you navigate these next phases of growth for your business.

For advice about growing your business, feel free to send me an inquiry or give me a call at (315) 877-1741.

Thanks very much, and I look forward to working with you!

Calif. Gov. Proposes Law that Consumers Be Paid “Data Use Dividends” by Tech Companies

I saw a really interesting article this morning on C/NET. California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a new law that says that tech companies have to pay you a dividend based on how much money they earn using your personal data. This is part of a big consumer privacy / consumer protection initiative.

It will be interesting to see how far this bill gets in the California legislature. California, of course, is the home to Silicon Valley titans like Alphabet (Google, YouTube), Apple, Oracle and many other data-centric businesses. You can expect a big lobbying effort against any substantive disclosures of how these companies are crunching our data, since it is the very basis for these billion dollar businesses.

The real “Big Picture” implication here is that all the data they have collected about our collective behavior is now being used for Artificial Intelligence applications that are going to shape our future.

Europe has long been at the forefront of consumer and data privacy laws. Last year, the EU passed a sweeping new data collection and protection statute that could have a big impact on the US tech giants whose services are worldwide in scope. (I’m looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg!) Here is an article reporting on the UK Parliament’s report on social media and the need for greater regulation:

At the link below, you can get some good insights into this new data collection standard. At its heart is a necessary concept – all data collection must be done with your consent, and the consent must be “real” and must be “informed”.

The consequences could be severe, and not just in terms of fines levied for non-compliance. Tim Berners-Lee, the actual inventor of the World Wide Web, is concerned enough about the degree of control of the Internet held by these companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.) that he is openly talking about how they need to be broken up. Monopolists are extracting too much money and exerting too much control over the Internet.

Google and Facebook are currently destroying the news and publishing business. It’s just as bad as the consolidation of our other media, and it limits the number of voices we hear, and the opportunities for new businesses to gain traction and create new disruptive technologies to further change our lives.

Basic Tax Considerations When Buying a Business

During the last couple months, I have had a surge of business purchases or sales. I thought this would be a good time to share some basic observations about the tax implications of buying or selling a business. The video below will provide you with some pluses and minuses, from a tax perspective, of buying the assets of a business versus buying its stock.

First of all, taking over a new business may seem like a daunting task. There is so much to learn – about how the business has been operating, about how it could operate better – and you have to learn while you are still running the business.

Thomas Edison had some great advice for new business owners – being busy does not necessarily mean getting things done. The most important thing for a new business owner to learn is how to make decisions in a timely, but still thoughtful manner.

The most important thing about buying or selling a business is to get a trusted advisor who has done this before, and can help you avoid certain pitfalls, and try to make your transition to being a business owner as smooth as possible.

If you need help buying or selling your business, feel free to give me a call for a free consultation. You can reach me at (315) 877-1741 or by email at

Thanks very much and I look forward to hearing from you!

Starting a New Business in the New Year

Sometimes the end of the year is a time for new beginnings.  Sometimes people take their retirement at year end.  Sometimes that’s when  they are offered an early-buy out, as companies examine their budget for the New Year. 

Or, maybe you had some good news – you might have come into an inheritance, or maybe you have saved up enough money that you want to try to make a business out of that particular thing you love to do – whether it’s photography, shooting video, painting, being a carpenter, a handyman or a landscape artist. 

Many people use year-end as the perfect time to plan for their “Next Act”.  What you need to do to maximize your chances for success are to find a set of trusted advisors – a lawyer, an insurance agent and an accountant. 

One of the easiest ways to find professionals to help build out your business team is to talk to other people who work in the industry that you are considering for your new business.  It’s always useful to have someone who has already done what you want to do as an advisor.  There is no better teacher than experience.

For more tips on starting a new business, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

What Motivates a Shark?

Kevin O’Leary, one of the investor-stars of Shark Tank, gave an interview recently.  He was asked what motivates entrepreneurs to do what they do.

Many people may not realize, but all of the Sharks on the TV show are real investors who have built and sold businesses before, including O’Leary, who first started out in the educational software business.

O’Leary said that what motivates the most success entrepreneurts is not money.  What?  How could that be? I though it was “all about the Benjamins”!

Nope.  In O’Leary’s experience, what makes someone a true entrepreneur is the need to make something, or to solve a problem.  And problem solvers, by nature, move from one problem to the next, and the next, and the next.

Just like sharks!  They have to keep moving forward or they die.

Here is a link to the rest of his interview, for some useful and practical insights:

For more business tips, please subscribe to my YouTube page at the link below.  Thank you.

The Green Wave is Coming

Hi, folks.  Many business publications have written articles in the last few years about how the Baby Boomer Generation is approaching retirement age.

While many people may be sick of hearing about the Boomers, many of them are business owners who have to start thinking about an exit, and how to harvest what they have built over a lifetime to fund their retirement.

What this survey shows us is that by age 65, Baby Boomers are trying to retire, but they might not be there yet.  Some are still working at their jobs or running their businesses; others have transitioned to part-time work, as they are in the process of passing their business on to someone else.

Young entrepreneurs sometimes overlook the opportunity that buying an established business presents.  An established business reduces your risk of operations, and the risk of your investment in buying a business.

There are lower up front costs, since the business has been built out and already owns the equipment it needs to do business.

There is predictable cash flow, and a recurring stream of customers.  For more insights into the benefits of buying an existing business, take a look at this article on

It takes a team to sell your business if you are a retiring business owner, and it takes a team to evaluate the opportunity, if you are a buyer who wants to own your own business.  For more information, please watch the video below.

Thank very much.  You can reach me at (315) 877-1741 or  I look forward to hearing from you.