For our September Transactional Expertise section, CEO Today reached out to Maximilien Gaslini – a business lawyer based in France and Italy. After completing his studies in Law and Business Administration in Paris, Maximilien attended the Paris Institute for Barristers and qualified as a lawyer in 2000.
From the beginning of his career, he counselled companies involved in business between France and Italy. He founded Gaslini & Rodi law firm in 2009 and his partner – Alberto Rodi joined shortly after. Here Maximilien tells us all about his company, the matters that they deal it and his transactional expertise.
Please tell us a little about the typical matters you assist clients with?
We work with companies only and practice corporate, business and labour law both in France and Italy. Typically, we assist our clients with mergers and acquisitions, as well as restructuring processes – from the decision-making process to the post-acquisition operations needed for the optimization of the business.
What would you say are the specific challenges of assisting clients with M&A and restructurings?
The success of any transaction, from negotiation to implementation of proper legal solutions, depends not only on precise knowledge and legal expertise, but also on a vast knowledge of the field, the local habits and the related techniques of negotiation, in order to apply the chosen solutions accordingly.
Our binational experience allows us to understand the cultural differences in the world of business, so that our clients; needs are understood and met.
What attracted you to this field of expertise? Can you tell us a bit about your career path?
My main focus has always been M&A and restructurings. Having both French and Italian roots, I have always taken a passionate interest in cultural differences that bring an interesting aspect to the business world. After studying law and business administration, I worked for different transnational law firms between Italy, France and Germany, particularly in mergers and acquisitions. I, therefore, had the opportunity to take part as a business lawyer in important transactions, which were often surrounded by labour issues, which is quite common in Europe. I also participated in numerous reorganizations of groups or single companies. This experience taught me that complex transactions, from a legal assistance point of view, need a few competent people to master the situation; whereas sometimes in larger offices, each problem is dealt with within a different department, which often results in losing the main goal.
This is when I realised that there was definitely a market for a competent M&A and restructuring law practice, on a smaller scale. Time has then shown us that our intuition was right.
What complex issues usually arise during a transaction (from your point of view) and how are they overcome?
There are two frequent issues that can occur during a negotiation. The first concerns the belief, sometimes encouraged by lawyers and consultants, that each part wants exactly the opposite of what the others seeks; while most often, the motivation that drives a company to go up for sell has nothing to do with the motivation of the company willing to acquire it. By working with the deep objectives of each part, we can avoid conflict and we are able to achieve a result that satisfies everyone.
The second issue that can occur is lack of trust. Incorrect behaviour can allow to obtain some small advantages, but destroys the indispensable element of trust, which leads to a lack of co-operation and ends with an unsatisfactory process or a breakdown in negotiations. I think it is fundamental to maintain a courteous and respectful manner in business negotiations. An iron hand for the negotiations, but in a velvet glove. This may appear old-fashioned but at a certain level of negotiations, these behavioural rules still count.
How are you developing new strategies and ways to help your clients?
Along with maintaining constant updating of the necessary legal knowledge, we also allow time for learning new negotiating and problem-solving techniques, inspired by the works of Fischer and Ury, for example, or NLP.
We also follow with great interest what happens after one, five or even ten years after an operation. This feedback is not often sought after by other lawyers, but for us it is a precious source of information, because the satisfaction of our clients is a long-term matter.
We also try to encourage our clients to allow us to intervene as closely as possible in the decision-making process because the legal matters and variables must be taken into consideration for the decision to be fully relevant.