Legal Project Management: The Forgotten Aspect of M&A Transactions

Arnecke Sibeth is highly renowned independent law firm based in Germany. We got in touch with Michael Siebold, partner at the company, to find out more about his firm and discover his thoughts on the ever-growing importance of legal project management.

From the firm’s experience, legal project management is a key success factor for any law firm today. Over the last few years, the international legal services market has changed significantly in terms of its fee structure. Listed companies, financial institutions and globally active groups show heightened cost awareness and, ultimately, prefer to stipulate fixed fees with their legal advisers while increasingly stepping away from hourly-based fee models.

Thus, an increasing number of complex and labourintensive M&A transactions are being allocated to
the corporate law firms’ offering the most favourable, cost-effective and efficient legal service, particularly in the German market.
Accordingly, it is indispensable for the provision of cost-efficient legal services to establish a sophisticated legal project management mechanism.

The latter ensures that the project and cost plan for an M&A transaction is based on correct assumptions of various imponderables, such as the cornerstones and the scope of the transaction, the complexity of issues, the period of time or the quality of the data room. The allocation of the right people at the right place, including outsourced assistance, therefore becomes a key component.

In this sense, legal advice on large and complex M&A or real estate transactions, as well as litigation, will only be successful and efficient for a law firm and its clients if the project is divided into different project sections. Such a breakdown is not only necessary to anticipate the legal resources required and the time necessary to complete the project, which, in turn, is essential to provide an appropriate fee estimate for the legal part of the transaction. Moreover, it facilitates the compilation of a project and cost plan which serves both sides, that is the client and legal adviser, to scrutinise the adherence of resources and time limits.

The firm’s internal legal project management mechanism ensures that we provide the personalised services that international clients seek, at a fair price and the highest quality level possible. By the same token, legal project management is a service offered to clients more and more frequently, providing document control, data room, minute keeping and time structuring services.

With 35 partners and over 120 lawyers, the firm follows a focused full service approach in their selected practice areas and sectors. Furthermore, with offices in Frankfurt am Main, Munich and Berlin, the firm is present in three of the major legal and industry markets in Germany; whilst also operating a small office in Dresden. Generally speaking, the firm’s client base is characterised by both multinationals and medium-sized enterprises, drawn from the German “Mittelstand”.

In terms of the sectors the firm works in, there are currently twelve industry groups. Between them all, they combine the multidisciplinary know-how of experienced lawyers who frequently have a business background in some of the highlighted sectors.
These include: automotive; banking and finance; chemicals; construction and engineering; energy/ renewables; hospitality; health care and life sciences; IT and e-commerce; public sector; real estate; sports, media and entertainment; transportation, as well as aviation and logistics.

Alongside our very experienced corporate and M&A practice, who specialise in cross-border transactions, the key strengths of Arnecke Sibeth lie in a large and highly specialised real estate practice, as well as an internationally renowned transportation, aviation and logistics experts. International expertise and handson advice therefore characterise the firm’s service approach and attitude.

Arnecke Sibeth strives to provide the best possible services in order to distinguish ourselves from our peers. Competition within the legal services market has become ever-sharper, both internationally and domestically. However, the merger between established Frankfurt based company Arnecke Siebold and the Munich based Sibeth in summer 2015, resulted in the formation of Arnecke Sibeth.

This new national player in Germany, renders us as perfectly prepared to address challenges of the future. In particular, the merger immediately produced synergies in joint pitches and services to existing clients – visibility to new clients increased. Furthermore, our teams in all locations will grow at all levels, and we have just added capabilities in renewable energy and antitrust. Likewise, the firm is looking to expand further into Germany regionally.

In 2016, the rapidly changing global economy, where business is becoming increasingly regulated in all jurisdictions, will bring potentially lucrative opportunities to those law firms poised to benefit from the increasing corporate activity in Germany. For instance, surveys predict that M&A activity in 2016 will be at least as vibrant as in the preceding year, in particular in the real estate sector where many (international) investors are seeking safe havens for their investments.

At the same time, the legal sector continues to face numerous challenges to its customary operating practices, such as the introduction of alternative business structures, pricing pressures, effective utilisation of fee earners and the ongoing need to reduce costs, all of which need to be addressed by law firms such as ours in order to remain competitive.

As such, Arnecke Sibeth expects to get more and more involved in global cross-border transactions, primarily emanating from the Far East and North America. Domestic M&A will remain strong, and we expect to expand our German client base too. Regardless of what the future brings, the firm will ensure that the highest quality legal advice around the world is a priority to the work we do.

Company: Arnecke Sibeth
Name: Michael Siebold, LL.M.
Address: Hamburger Allee 4
60486 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69 979885 0
(352 direct dial)