“One-shot deals are very, very expensive” – including legal departments paying law firms on major matters

An article in Harpers, Vol. 304 Oct. 2009 at 37, explains why investment bankers make so much money: “When you have only one chance to get it right, you tend to open up your wallet and pray,” writes Megan McArdle, and she applies this logic of client profligacy to the stratospheric economics of movie trailers, weddings, funerals, and college diploma. How she missed major legal matters I do not know.

One-shot deals like IPOs, secondary offerings, major acquisitions for business managers equivalent for general counsel of bet-the-company litigation, IPOs, defenses against marauding acquirers, Chapter 11 reorganizations, and European Commission competition inquiries. One-shot deals, unfamiliar, rife with unknown and potentially enormous consequences, career determining, mean that with one chance to get it right you think about legal fees like Rhett Butler: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Bills of law firms are bagatelles.

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