Webinar Key Takeaways: Using Legal Expertise to Create Competitive Advantage in M&A, Particularly In Uncertain Times

Webinar Key Takeaways: Using Legal Expertise to Create Competitive Advantage in M&A, Particularly In Uncertain Times

Please find below a summary of our key takeaways from the webinar which took place on Wednesday 20th May.

 

  • In M&A, the Legal function and senior attorneys can become much more than a “support function” – potential source of competitive advantage
    • Need to move beyond being “The Department of ‘No’” or “The Deal Prevention Department”
    • Responsibility of the lawyers to craft a more business-critical role: skills, knowledge, attitude
  • Two Key Elements of Legal as Competitive Advantage
    • Develop Translation Skills – not just “communications”
      • Digest complex information – strategic, financial, market, and legal/rules & regulations
      • Frame critical issues for colleagues – Present information in context
        • Explain tradeoffs, interdependencies, constraints, “must do” items
        • Support with examples, metaphors to help understanding
        • Provide tangible support like punch lists
      • Help executives to understand the perspectives, interests, concerns of all involved parties; help anticipate process and substance issues
      • Facilitate communication – own firm and other parties
    • Assume Non-Conventional Roles as an executive
      • Help manage key processes – discussions, negotiation, etc.
      • Challenge colleagues’ ideas and conclusions
  • Outside and Inside Counsel Each Have a Place – no clear lines, best attorneys understand both aspects; but, coordination between Inside and Outside vital
    • Outside Counsel
      • Focus on deal, problem, issue
      • Experience across firms, industries, situations
      • “I have to justify my presence” attitude
    • Inside Counsel
      • Understand strategic context
      • Know players, particularly key inside executives
      • “I’m going to have to live with these decisions” attitude
  • Advice to Aspiring “M&A Competitive Advantage Attorneys”
    • Add Value – not just “happy talk,” tangible value that your client – internal or external – is “willing to pay for”
    • Build Bridges, Keep Perspective – “You don’t have to win every point;” in fact, if you win every point, you may well lose the match
    • Build a Reputation for Integrity, Candor, Fairness