Expert Opinion: Emmanuel Scialom (Frieh Associés)

The results have been very positive for our clients and other stakeholders, as well as for our daily internal organization.

Emmanuel Scialom has been a specialist in private equity and M&A for over 20 years. He was a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher until 2011, and then worked at Dentons until 2018 before joining Frieh Associés.

Created in 2018 by Michel Frieh (former managing partner of DLA Piper Paris Office), Marina Doithier and Raphaël Dana, Frieh Associés currently has 5 partners and 6 associates. The firm focuses on private equity and M&A, but also on intellectual property, labour law and competition law.

Closd: Can you introduce Frieh Associés and the types of cases you work on?

Emmanuel Scialom: The firm mainly has a transactional practice. We accompany clients in the context of M&A and private equity transactions. We represent purchasers, sellers or managers throughout the sale process of a target, on every aspect of the transaction.

You have been using Closd for several months. Why did you choose this product and what needs did the platform meet?

E.S.: First, because Closd is a third-party service. Without this key aspect, it would be difficult to convince all the parties involved in our transactions to use it. There is always the fear of losing access to information by giving total control to one party. Being able to share this control through a third-party provider creates a bond of trust. Second, Closd has clearly been designed by people who know our job, having done it before, and therefore understand our needs. It combines the necessary features with a real simplicity of use.

Can you describe the transactions you carry out on the platform?

E.S.: We use the platform to manage and carry out transactions handled by the firm. It allows us to ensure uninterrupted real-time communication on the evolution of documents and on the underlying negotiations. In particular, it significantly shortens the signature process by simplifying the logistics and cutting out the traditional reprographics tasks.

How would you evaluate your use of the tool so far? What are the benefits of digitalizing and centralizing your projects on Closd?

E.S.: The results have been very positive for our clients and other stakeholders, as well as for our daily internal organization. Digitalizing and centralizing our projects allows easy access to the documentation from anywhere and a transparency that is very much appreciated by all parties. But the biggest benefit is the DocuSign integration and the configuration that the platform allows in terms of signature: with Closd, we no longer depend on everyone being available on the same day and being in the same place to sign. This is a profound change in the organization in our job.

What were your clients’ reactions regarding the use of electronic signature for closings, and its use in general during your collaboration on Closd?

E.S.: They are less and less reluctant to use this type of process. After they first use it, they are all generally convinced of the benefit of using digital signatures. They also like the continuous access to information that the platform offers, particularly the instant access to documentation once it’s signed. This is very comforting to them.

The legal industry is undergoing a digital transformation. How do you see technological evolution impacting lawyers’ daily practice?

E.S.: Technological evolution is a chance for those lawyers who make the effort to pursue it: by sparing material tasks, they can focus on high value-added tasks that are more important for their clients and for themselves. Thank you, Emmanuel Scialom!

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