Tech lawyers – one size doesn’t fit all

Good to be back – No, really
January 6, 2016

Tech lawyers – one size doesn’t fit all

I’ve really enjoyed watching the legal services landscape evolve over recent years. There is more and more opportunity for businesses to get well-tailored support, at the right price, depending on its changing needs. We work a lot with tech cos, where the demands of a rapidly growing business mean that the service provider needs to fit in with the business, not the other way around.

This was the story when a European biopharmaceuticals company got in touch with us last year. They had recently done a big deal, out-licensing an early stage project to one of the big pharma players. They had used a big city firm, and been happy with the work they did for them. The cash from that deal meant that they could grow their pipeline, and plan a global licensing strategy. When they agreed commercial terms for the next, smaller, transaction, they had initially gone back to the same firm. Their lawyer was clearly very busy on a deal, and they found that they couldn’t get her on the phone. Precious time was being taken up, waiting to get feedback and turn documents around. And, when they projected their on-going legal costs, they soon realised that they would burn up a disproportionate amount of cash. It was at this stage that they got in touch, and we started working together a short time later. The business is happy, as it has the benefit of a closely-aligned specialist lawyer, at the fraction of the price of city law firms, and it’s a great team. We’re still on good terms with the big law firm, and they know that they’ll be in the frame for the next high-end deal when that comes along.

Although the big firms will remain the natural choice of investors and boards where the transactions involve many zeros, for mid-range deals such as licensing, smaller divestments and acquisitions, operational arrangements and similar projects, a more economic model is available. Still specialists in the sector, these ‘hybrid’ law firm/in-house lawyers have a slightly different approach, being insightful around overall business objectives and helping to find workable solutions. This is where the type of support offered by New Leaf Law comes in.

So, one size doesn’t fit all, because it doesn’t have to. For some businesses, especially the fast-growing ones, different types of specialist legal support are right at different times.

If you think we may be able to help, it would be great to hear from you.