Skip to content Skip to navigation menu
Your browser is not supported by this site.
Please update to the latest version, or use a different browser for the best experience.

Division of labor:
mergers and acquisitions

When a significant transaction lands on the desk of corporate counsel, a decision must be made: Should the work remain exclusively in-house or should the department partner with outside counsel? And, if work will be sent to outside counsel, are there specific tasks related to the transaction that should be handled in-house because it takes advantage of corporate counsel’s knowledge of the business and stakeholders within the company? The 2016 Thomson Reuters Legal Department In-Sourcing and Efficiency Report surveyed more than 400 legal departments to determine how in-house teams make these types of decisions and best divide responsibilities in connection with mergers and acquisitions.

According to the Efficiency Report, corporate counsel consistently turn to outside counsel for M&A work; 53 percent reported they use outside counsel “usually” or “almost always” for M&A work. This is an increase from last year, when 41 percent reported they “usually” or “almost always” rely on outside counsel in connection with M&A work.

Most legal departments (69 percent) anticipate their use of outside counsel for M&A transactions will remain the same in the coming year. Yet about 22 percent plan to increase the amount of M&A work going to outside counsel, and of these, about 81 percent reported the uptick is due to an increased volume of work and company growth. As one attorney explained, it’s “because we plan to acquire more companies in 2016 than in previous years, and we don’t have bandwidth to do all the work in-house.”

Of the 10 percent planning to turn to outside counsel less often for M&A work, half said it was because they anticipate less of this type of work or because they recently finished a large transaction. For some legal departments, it was simply because attorneys were able to keep work in-house. A respondent reasoned: “I don't see any particularly large or complex M&A transactions coming. In-house counsel is perfectly capable of handling most of our M&A work.”

The top tasks handled in-house for M&A transactions included conducting internal due diligence (74 percent), discussing strategy and goals with the deal team (69 percent), and preparing preliminary documents (65 percent). When do in-house teams tend to turn to outside counsel for M&A transactions? Most often, it’s for significant or complex transactions.

MLA Tasks

Want to work smarter and bring more work in-house? The 2016 Thomson Reuters Legal Department In-sourcing and Efficiency Report highlights how effective in-house teams are working smarter despite limited resources. See why efficient in-house teams rely on Thomson Reuters Practical Law Connect. Practical Law Connect integrates Practical Law know-how resources, Thomson Reuters Westlaw primary law content, forms, secondary sources, West km, and other time-saving tools – all on one platform. Practical Law Connect provides a better way to work for attorneys who advise, negotiate, and draft legal documents to ensure that business dealings comply with relevant statutes and regulations.


The key to a more effective legal department: Thomson Reuters Practical Law Connect

Efficient in-house legal teams rely on Thomson Reuters Practical Law Connect

You can influence how efficient your legal department is by experiencing firsthand how this integrated, innovative offering can save you valuable time. Practical Law Connect brings together the legal resources you need to advise, negotiate, and structure your business dealings – all from a single solution.

With Practical Law Connect you can:

  • Quickly drill down to the exact issue on your desk and get the resources you need to work on it right away.
  • Browse Practical Law™ know-how, Westlaw® primary and secondary sources, market trend reports and other custom tools, all in one place.
  • Access featured resources that are hand-picked by members of our team of over 200 attorney editors with an average 12 years of experience.

Maximize your in-house team’s efficiency with Practical Law Connect.

Start free trial