General Counsel Services

For organizations with and without legal departments, we offer a tailored and cost-effective legal team dedicated to delivering practical solutions aligned with the values and objectives of each client.

Investing in an in-house legal team, at times, does not make sense for an organization, whether that organization is a start-up or emerging enterprise, a nonprofit organization, or a private and/or closely-held company. For many organizations, cost and operational efficiencies can be gained by outsourcing all or a majority of an in-house legal function.

These efficiencies include:

  • Utilization of junior and mid-level attorneys who can handle the more routine and day-to-day legal matters so a general or in-house counsel can focus on strategic work.
  • Access to thought leaders in different areas of the law who can provide “best in class” perspectives on evolving trends, strategies and risks.
  • Flexible arrangements that reflect needs, priorities and budget parameters.
  • Assisting with attorney secondments and short-term staffing needs.
  • Performing legal department evaluations.
  • Advising first-time general counsel.

The Harter Secrest & Emery General Counsel Services team consists of attorneys who are former general counsel and others who regularly serve as lead corporate counsel to clients without in-house counsel capabilities or who have limited in-house resources. Utilizing our teams’ in-house experience and industry know-how—coupled with the resources of a full-service business law firm—we provide effective advice and counsel to organizations that seek to develop an outsourced legal function or supplement their current legal function with dedicated resources.

When operating as an outside general counsel, or in support of a “stretched thin” in-house legal department, we provide clients with an “à la carte” experience: clients select the most relevant services to their operational and legal needs, and we provide the team.

Services in outsourced arrangements often include:

  • Business and legal risk assessment and advice
  • Corporate governance including strategic partnering with executive leadership
  • Routine corporate secretarial functions, including preparation and maintenance of minutes and other books and records
  • Compliance policies and program
  • Contract law (drafting, advising, negotiating, and contract process management)
  • Employment law, including day-to-day counseling and compliance
  • Employee benefit plan design and advice
  • Environmental compliance programs
  • Legal department audit
  • Trademark, patents, and other intellectual property protection
  • Privacy and data security
  • Real estate leasing and portfolio management
  • State and federal tax advice

As with all firm clients, we tailor our General Counsel Services to each client’s needs and budget. The goal is always to provide the client with a cost-effective plan that makes sense from an operational and budget perspective. For many clients, a retainer that provides monthly predictability around cost and scope of work makes the most sense. For others, a volume-based hourly rate for covered work is sufficient. In short, we partner with our clients to develop the approach that works for them.

Our approach also includes an investment of our time to learn and understand each client’s business and culture to ensure our work product delivers value, focuses on what matters most to the client, reflects legal and commercial best practices and ultimately serves the client’s needs.

Our General Counsel Services team members have experience managing legal departments, orchestrating multidisciplinary teams of lawyers, and serving as the primary counsel to privately-held, publicly-traded, family-run, middle-market and non-profit organizations.

Key Contacts

Edward J. Pelta

Former general counsel at Gleason Corporation and ALSTOM Signaling, Inc., with decades of experience leading legal departments

Mark J. Stuhlmiller

Mark J. Stuhlmiller

Former general counsel at Aleron Group and deputy general counsel with Computer Task Group, Inc. with more than two decades of experience leading legal departments

Steven VanArsdale

Stephen R.
Van Arsdale

Former general counsel at Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. with more than two decades of experience leading a legal department

Casion Joseph

Joseph G. Casion

More than 20 years of experience serving as outside general counsel to nonprofits and privately-held companies


Daniel W. Collins

Lead corporate and general counsel to family-owned and closely-held businesses


Phillip A. Delmont

More than 20 years of experience counseling small to middle-market companies


Michael Roche

Lead corporate counsel for privately-held companies in regulated industries

Shufelt_Jennie_2023 ALB-WebReady

Jennie Shufelt

More than 20 years of experience counseling small to middle-market companies


Sheldon Smith

More than 20 years of experience counseling small to middle-market companies


Craig S. Wittlin

More 30 years of experience as lead corporate counsel; currently serving as outside general counsel for major Northeast grocery store chain

Key Contacts


Harter Secrest & Emery LLP Announces New General Counsel Services Practice

Ex-Wegmans GC Helps Form New Harter Secrest Group

Harter Secrest & Emery Launches General Counsel Services Practice with Addition of Former General Counsel from Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. and Aleron Group

According to our clients:

“They are a great team of bright, talented people who are incredibly knowledgeable, very customer-oriented and very good at meeting deadlines.”

“HSE is not only commercial, they are creative. Their lawyers are thoughtful problem solvers who diligently work an issue until they've achieved a solution that decreases risk and achieves the business objectives.”