Today’s blog comes from a guest author with over 30 years of experience in transactional work on several continents for some of the largest companies and law firms in the world. He now has his own firm where he serves private clients, startup companies, and freelances in collaboration with other law firms via LAWCLERK. To date, Matt has completed over 110 projects on LAWCLERK with top notch ratings. We hope you enjoy reading about his experience, expertise, and success with freelancing.
Well into the second full year of the “new normal,” my life as a LAWCLERK freelancer has found a certain familiar rhythm. Whereas in 2020 I was like someone starting up a new office taking a wide variety of work across secondary practice areas – litigation, immigration, commercial disputes, immigration, random bursts of arcane legal research – I am now able to concentrate on my primary competency: M&A (especially in my familiar fields of entertainment, gaming, and TMT). As indicated in my last blog a year back, it was good for my skills and tools to branch out for several months, driven by the necessities of the market, but now the market’s demands have returned to what I do best: papering deals for startups that have hit the big time.
For the uninitiated general practitioner or for specialists in other fields, mergers and acquisitions is a fancy way of saying the buying and selling of businesses. Any lawyer in private practice, regardless of specialty, can have a client whose company becomes a target for purchase, or who wants to buy other companies as opposed to expanding their existing business. Lawyers who have access to experienced deal drafters may be able to service their clients’ needs without referring them to expensive and full-service large firms who might retain the clients’ other legal business after the deal closes. In addition, small M&A boutiques require seasonal extra hands without the need for training. And that’s where someone like me comes in.
Demand since the third quarter of 2020 for mergers and acquisition lawyers has exploded. According to recent statistics from Standard & Poors, worldwide the number of completed business combinations for the first nine months of 2021 exceeded the same number for all of 2020. Corporate M&A is like the American consumer retail market: the last three months are usually by dollar value and deal count almost half of the entire year’s volume. Therefore, in Q4 attorneys and their clients are looking at a bonanza of work helping them buy and sell other businesses before year end.
I have seen this first-hand since fall of 2020. Small or solo practice groups on LAWCLERK have hired me (and I assume other similarly skilled practitioners) to help them guide their clients throughout all phases of a deal’s lifecycle: initial term sheets, due diligence, drafting and/or review of primary deal documents, preparation of schedules, exhibits, and other ancillary documents, and closing/post-closing follow-up.
With almost 30 years and over $5 billion in total deals around the world completed under my belt, I am happy to bring these skills and experience to boutiques and general offices to help them service and maintain the clients that they have worked so hard to generate and develop. Most of these assignments, inside and outside LAWCLERK, have been transnational in nature: deals I have worked on in the last year alone have involved financiers in Dubai, operating companies in India, purchasers in Canada, parent companies in France, inventors from Russia, and investors from mainland China.
LAWCLERK has provided me with the ability to develop my practice back to my own niche: servicing other lawyers in the development of their own clients’ fortunes. As a deal lawyer, I am similar to a matchmaker or a wedding planner: after I have provided the transaction with its best possible start in life, there is little role for me in the ongoing marriage of the business. Therefore, I am easily and ordinarily detached from the lawyers’ clients after conclusion of the transaction. In an environment like LAWCLERK that post-assignment detachment is already normal and organic.
In conclusion, my experience with LAWCLERK in my second year as a frequently hired consultant has been very positive. Judging by the volume of assignments, especially repeat customers, that I have gotten through the platform, I get the chance to be useful to other lawyers all across the country, and to help them build their own profitable client relationships.