What should be considered when hiring an M&A lawyer?

By Andrew J. Sherman | Last updated: February 25, 2021
Well, I’ll tell you a couple of things, the primary one, obviously, being the experience. I know that’s often said as the first answer, but there are a lot of law firms that do a little bit of M&A or casually do it, or they have a general corporate department. Over the last two years, our lawyers
at Seyfarth Shaw have been engaged in more than 200 M&A transactions across a diverse range of industries. I mean, we do more deals than any other law firm. There are a lot of things we don’t do, but M&A is certainly not one of them. You want to go with a firm that knows what’s happening in terms of best practices and current market conditions and that type of thing.

The second thing is, does the lawyer know the industry? There are a lot of subtleties among transactions and some knowledge and experience within the industry is always a plus. It’s maybe not completely dispositive. Sometimes it creates conflicts of interest but it’s certainly beneficial to have knowledge in the industry.

Third, what does the lawyer know about the business of business? You can look at the M&A lawyer as the creator of paper work, or you can look at the M&A lawyer as somebody that is really going to be one of the key strategic advisors on the deal. Naturally, we prefer the latter if possible and so part of the interview and selection process should always be what other value will the M&A lawyer bring to the table beyond good documents because in some ways, good documents and even some degree of experience is a bit of a commodity.

The fourth element I would add is a degree of pragmatism. I come into the transaction and I think, "How do I help the client meet its objectives?" Some people come into the transaction and think, "How do I look good by derailing this transaction?" I’ve never thought that way. My brain doesn’t even work that way. I mean, I want to help the client meet its business objectives. Now, if meeting the business objectives means that the client shouldn’t do the deal, then that’s fine and, then I will be a deal breaker, but you’ve got to come into it with a deal maker mindset that the client has chosen to do this, as long as the business premises of the transaction have been tested and confirmed.

Share this Q&A

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter


Sale Process Pre Sale Preparation Expectations Pre-Transaction Closing Steps Exit Strategy

Written by Andrew J. Sherman

Profile Picture of Andrew J. Sherman

Andrew J. Sherman is a Partner in the Corporate Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Andrew focuses his practice on issues affecting business growth for companies at all stages, including developing strategies for licensing and leveraging intellectual property and technology assets, intellectual asset management and harvesting, as well as international corporate transactional and franchising matters.

More Q&As from our experts

Related Articles

Term of the Day

Investment Thesis

An investment thesis is the analysis performed by a buyer to assess a potential acquisition against an established set of...
Read Full Term

Subscribe To the Divestopedia Newsletter!

Stay on top of new content from Join one of our email newsletters and get the latest insights about selling your business in your inbox every week.

Go back to top