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A structural difference seen through M&A work

InsideCounsel, Aug. 2007, at 50, brings out a structural attribute in the law department of $4 billion SunGard. In the past few decades, the article states, the company has acquired more than 100 companies. That is legal work enough, but even so it is widely acknowledged that for every acquisition consummated, there are others that go part of the way and yet require legal work.

The law department of SunGard may have one or more M&A specialist lawyers, given that volume of deals, but the article only says that “the legal department assigns each business unit a specific lawyer who becomes familiar with that segment of the business.” According to a senior lawyer for the company who is referred to in the article, those generalist commercial lawyers, who understand well the issues of the various business units, work on the acquisition deals that involve their units.

I still believe that business unit lawyers should be generalists, they should not handle major lawsuits (See my posts of Nov. 30, 2005 and five references cited; and June 20, 2007 on the mistaken view that inside counsel are “generalists.”) or acquisitions.

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One response to “A structural difference seen through M&A work”

  1. Bill says:

    Outside counsel is often walking a fine line with regard to billing time for M&A work–which often can be a legal minefield if the business leaders in the process are unaware of the consequences of their actions. Here’s a great song parody and some good advice to go with it…about the M&A legal process.