Lawyer profile: Laurent Courtecuisse
28 September 2023
- Can you describe how the M&A landscape has changed over the years as a result of the rise of start-ups, and how this has influenced your approach to your work?
The M&A landscape in the general sense of the term has been altered by the arrival of start-ups, first and foremost in terms of private equity. The sums raised by start-ups on the private market (as they are not listed, they cannot benefit from financing on the stock markets) have become increasingly considerable, and this has gone hand in hand with the development of richly endowed investment funds eager to make big money. This financing enabled the development of disruptive technologies that consumed a lot of cash while they were being finalised and made profitable. This has a knock-on effect for start-up boards. You need to be able to understand these technologies in order to analyse the risks and legal implications. When a young developer explains to you, in his own language, his application that is going to change everyone’s lives, you sometimes have to pay close attention to see what the needs are and provide sound advice. Ensuite, dans le cadre des cessions desdites startups, les valorisations, souvent « hors-sol », font vite tourner les têtes et donnent des envies à tous les startuppers. It is therefore important for investment banks to clarify realistic valuation levels.
- Are M&A deals still being influenced by the lasting consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and if so, how are companies adjusting their approach to deal with these developments?
Transactions were impacted to varying degrees depending on the companies’ activities. Covid was a blank year for these companies, who had to wait for the first signs of an upturn in the sector to see operations resume, barring a merger. For the others, the operations have not stopped! The more current difficulty is that bank financing is expensive and difficult to obtain.
- What hobbies or personal interests do you have outside work that allow you to relax and recharge your batteries?
Being an epicurean, friends, food and all that goes with it. Tennis is the perfect way to forget your excesses!
- What aspect of your role as a partner do you find most rewarding?
Indirect thanks from associates when they say they are happy to come to work, because the files are interesting (which means I’ve done my job for development) and the working conditions are pleasant (which means the partners have put in place the means to satisfy them).
- If you could work anywhere in the world, where would you go and how would that affect your work?
I would work from the United States, where I would open a secondary office to keep the business in France. Preferably in New York, so that you can return to France quickly. Apart from the time difference, which I already have here with American customers, it won’t change a thing!
- What do you think is the unique feature of NMCG Avocats?
I’ll have to be humble, but I sincerely believe it’s true. NMCG has built up a reputation for excellence over the years, because no case or client is treated unless every effort is made to ensure that they win in litigation or receive the best advice in other areas. It’s up to us to perpetuate this while continuing to develop, because that’s what our customers expect of us too.
- What are the main similarities and differences between your legal practice and your interest in art? How do these two aspects of your life interact?
Art is a notion that can link all practices, all activities. We say “practising our art” when we’re practising our profession! After that, anyone can interpret a work, paint or sculpt the same song, the same subject for a painting, the same object in a different way and still be perfectly understandable. Nevertheless, some works are more successful than others. It’s the same in our business. A project can be approached in different ways, with an ambitious strategy or not, with more or less talent! It is the customers, or the judge, who decide whether the work is a success.
- These days, video has become an essential communication tool. How do you see the practice of making videos as a lawyer?
Without being innovative, as videos are commonplace and well-established in many fields, a lawyer’s video should provide additional information, a legal plus, without being boring or soothing. I’m a great believer in videos that tell a story, that provide feedback, which is an essential part of our business. It’s a format that we already use at the firm, allowing us to have a more educational approach with our clients, but also a way of showcasing our different colleagues.