When asked about what role the general counsel played during a corporate M&A, the consensus of the panel was that they preferred to be part of the process at source. The general counsel has a unique perspective and is in an ideal position to project-manage the deal, acting as an effective bridge to all departments.
The panel were encouraging about the important continuing role of external counsel, which was well received by the assembled 80 private practice lawyers in the audience. The consensus of the panel is perhaps at odds with the findings of In-House Community’s research regarding the amount of work done in-house as opposed to using external providers: more than 60 percent of our Hong Kong In-House Community do most (over 75 percent) or all of the legal work in-house.
However, that statistic includes the entire scope of legal work. For major transactions such as M&A or capital raising, external lawyers clearly have an important role to play in helping deals to fruition, although the panel noted that there seems to be a dearth of expertise among external providers in Asia regarding post-deal integration.