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Nebil Gaigu

Head of Legal Project Management , Pinsent Masons Vario

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LPM uses bespoke methodology which matches tried-and-tested project management processes with specific, expert legal and sector knowledge.

Legal project management: an essential M&A tool

Legal project management: an essential M&A tool


Nebil Gaigi and Rinesh Pankhania examine the latest in M&A

Conventional wisdom assumes in times of economic turmoil, merger and acquisition activity slows down.  But what the last few years have taught us is that conventional wisdom shouldn’t necessarily be trusted. To use the well-worn pandemic phrase, we’re now experiencing a ‘new normal’ and in short, nothing should be assumed. The M&A markets in fact look relatively positive – PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey found that “60 per cent of global CEOs are not planning to delay M&A deals into 2023 despite recession fears.”

While this optimism is great for businesses and the wider economy, deals are increasingly becoming more complex and sophisticated and there are many reasons why.For instance, businesses are more international, deal with more data and in many cases, want to get deals done as quickly as possible, with the greatest efficiencies. This means legal teams are often dealing with complicated company structures and a complex geopolitical landscape while also being under pressure to get these deals over the line quicker than ever before.

Add into this mix the fact that in-house legal teams are often operating with less budget and constrained resources, and you can see how pressure can build rapidly. In an attempt to ease this strain, we are seeing more and more legal teams turn to specialist legal project managers to take on some of the administrative burden and generally, give a bird’s eye view of the entire project. This holistic viewpoint gives much-needed clarity to a fast-moving deal and also allows efficiencies to be identified.  

What is Legal Project Management (LPM)?

Legal Project Management is well-established, but taking these principles and processes and developing them to specifically suit the legal world is a relatively new practice, but one which is rapidly gaining traction. LPM uses bespoke methodology which matches tried-and-tested project management processes with specific, expert legal and sector knowledge. 

How can it help?

By managing budget, risk, resources, stakeholders and communication, the Legal Project Manager works closely with the team to deliver the project and ultimately ease the strain. When it comes to M&A, Legal Project Managers communicate directly with clients and the deal team so there is greater clarity and transparency around fees/budgets and improved lines of communication. Often, legal teams find they can quickly get bogged down by inefficient lines of communication and piles of important, but simple, administrative tasks. One of the key roles of LPM is to take on and manage a significant portion of this administrative burden. This leaves the lawyers with more time and energy to devote to giving strategic legal advice as the deal progresses.  

Bringing a Legal Project Manager onto a deal can also help create more diversity of thought. An external pair of eyes can do the vital job of offering a fresh perspective to a busy legal team, and often results in innovative solutions. 

LPM teams can also advise on the best technology solutions - combining proprietary and other technology solutions to speed up processes and free up time. 


In a fast-moving deal environment, the overall picture can often become blurred and confused. LPM also offers a vital role in providing both clarity and transparency. This helps ensure there are no nasty surprises, as both costs and risks are actively managed throughout the project. Overspend in certain areas are therefore flagged in real time, and don’t become a tricky issue at the end.

While the future of M&A looks steady, what is clear is that legal teams are increasingly going to have to evolve to ensure they are in the best position to handle a rapidly evolving landscape which means deals are complex, even faster-paced and the bottom line will be analysed more than ever.

While these legal teams have to contend with resourcing issues, it’s clear that not just LPM, but support from a range of external providers will become more essential to help ease strains, add value and cut costs. 

In these times of fast-moving markets, being fleet of foot is more important than ever before. But a complementary safe pair of hands is also needed. 

Nebil Gaigi is head of legal project management, and Rinesh Pankhania is senior legal project manager at Pinsent Masons Vario: