Ten rules for ensuring efficient transactions:

4. Insist on distance if you are looking for a close relationship.
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A responsible advisor can only be objective if he keeps his distance.

Transactions can never be “business as usual” – particularly for you, as one of the people in the driving seat. In fact, they are complex and dynamic processes. You will only be able – or permitted – to keep a small number of people in the loop at all times. Many phases of your project entail major risks, not least for you personally. You will quickly feel lonely if you don’t have an advisor who can lead you safe and sound through your transaction. He is your most important guide during these crucial phases for you and your company, because his only duty is to you.

When do you benefit most from your lawyer? Not when he slavishly adopts your point of view. Not when he is prepared to help implement your project unconditionally – even if you want him to. Experience shows that such an approach is guaranteed to end in tears. And that getting too close to his clients does not make an advisor any better. In fact, the more demands an advisor makes of you and the more standards he sets himself in his work, the more energetic and focused he will be in managing and implementing your project. Expect your advisor to visit you, at home and at work. And expect awkward questions. Even though an advisor does not have to share your corporate culture, he should be familiar with it. And it is perfectly possible to negotiate a merger so that both sides actually look forward to working together once it has been signed.

Protect yourself, not least from your own vanity. Do not buy yourself a lawyer. Look to create a partnership with him, and accept the fact that he will maintain a certain distance from you. Demand the objectivity that a responsible advisor will offer. This is the best way for him to protect you and your interests.