Archived Insight | February 15, 2022

Law Firms: Offer Your M&A Clients a Winning Deal Playbook

Attorneys representing a client embarking on a merger or acquisition always concentrate on looking out for the client’s best interests. Traditionally, that means making sure the contracts offer the best terms possible, identifying all major risks and determining what must go well for the deal to be successful. Offering an M&A playbook can exponentially increase the firm’s value to its client.

Two Businessmen Shaking Hands While Their Colleagues Look On

In an article published in the Maryland Bar Journal, “Help Your Clients Achieve Greater M&A Success, Starting with a Winning Playbook,” Fred Hencke, Senior Vice President and Segal’s M&A Practice leader, discusses:

  • The seven common motivations for an M&A deal
  • Attributes of a winning M&A playbook, including how to address negative internal factors — like people, culture and leadership challenges — that can impact the success of the deal and the key steps to follow before a deal is signed

An M&A playbook is a set of best practices that start well before the contract — in fact, well before a potential buyer or seller is ready to move forward with a potential deal — and extends well after the deal closes. It also provides a roadmap for a successful integration.

Advantages of following an M&A playbook

By having a hand in improving the outcome of the deal, you can reduce two risks to your firm: the risk of an unhappy client if the deal does not meet expectations, and the potential to share some of the blame for an unsuccessful deal, even if only in your client’s mind.

What makes a winning M&A playbook?

“Winning” in this context means that the acquired company is a good fit in terms of your client’s motivations, culture, and expected outcomes. It also means the synergy targets are achievable and sustainable.

What makes a winning playbook? It covers the full lifecycle of a deal, starting with business strategy and ending with optimization.


The secondary benefit is that it is dynamic: it includes a set of parameters that allow for adaptation and contingencies as the company moves through the process and learns more about the intended suitor or target.

Interested in learning more about using a winning M&A playbook with your clients?

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.