Outdated Technology and Poor Transparency Severely Compromise PE Firms’ Ability to Manage Outside Counsel Expenses

GCs and legal teams of PE firms are forced to oversee outside legal counsel costs across several different areas, including M&A deals, fund formations, litigation and regulatory matters. That can make it really easy for cost overruns to occur, particularly when the legal teams lack insight into the status of M&A deals or real-time expense updates from their external counsel. The pervasiveness of those struggles was apparent in a December 2020 survey of 160 senior legal stakeholders from PE firms (Survey) that was commissioned by Apperio and performed by independent research firm Coleman Parkes. Among other Survey findings, it is particularly notable that poor transparency – both between internal teams at the firm and with outside counsel – hindered the management of legal costs across PE firms of all sizes and locations. Apperio’s report sets out the Survey results and discusses potential implications for PE firms. This article reviews the key takeaways from the Survey results, which were supplemented with insights from interviews conducted by the Private Equity Law Report with Nicholas d’Adhemar, CEO and founder of Apperio, and Alun Swift, head of sales and marketing operations at Apperio. See “How Fund Managers Can Control Legal Costs and Negotiate Outside Counsel Fees (Part One of Three)” (Mar. 10, 2020); and “How Fund Managers Can Develop an Effective Third-Party Management Program” (Sep. 21, 2017).

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