Guillaume Giuliani specializes in cross-border M&A, joint ventures and private equity transactions, and joined Desfilis as a partner in 2013 after having worked in the M&A department of French firm Bredin Prat.
Closd : Hello Mr. Giuliani. Could you tell us in a little more detail about Desfilis and the matters you work on?
Guillaume Giuliani: Desfilis is an independent French business law firm. It is quite old, turning 100 this year. It was taken over in the 1980s by José Desfilis, who worked with a very small team for a long time. Since 2011, partners from major local firms have joined Desfilis and we now number about thirty. Our business today is essentially transactional, and we carry out around 20 transactions per year.
You have been using Closd for a year now. Why did you choose it and which of your needs did the platform respond to?
G.G.: At first, we represented a lot of founders and managers in private equity transactions. Closings were systematically organized by the funds’ lawyers. Then, due to the breadth of our experience with the founders and managers together with the arrival of more partners at our firm, particularly partners specializing in financing and transactional taxation, the funds wanted to make us work. To organize closings, we made the choice to go paperless, rather than developing our reprographic service.
Can you describe the transactions you carried out on the platform?
G.G.: Essentially we used it to organize LBO transactions with multiple signatories and abundant documentation. Recently, we also decided to sign our M&A deals on Closd. Lastly, when we represent management now, we take charge of the entire signing process on Closd in order to streamline closings, which is a real plus when there are over 50 signatories among the managers.
What is your assessment of Closd, and what were your clients’ reactions to using electronic signatures for your closings, and more generally to your collaboration on Closd?
G.G. : Our assessment is very positive, primarily because it has enabled us to accelerate the development of our transactional activities while maintaining a fairly light administrative structure. Clients, on their side, immediately celebrated the dematerialization of closings.
The legal market is in a period of transformation and is seeing its digital shift. How do you see technological developments impacting lawyers’ daily practices?
G.G. : There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of digitalization. My feeling is that lawyers’ work will be aided by this transformation.