This smokin’ tobacco deal — what it shows about 21st Century lawyering

tobaccohouse12Think about this transaction the tobacco companies have announced. Think what it shows about the legal services  and “legal services organizations” needed to do the world’s work.

Recently, Peter Kalis asseverated that “classical” legal work – that is, work not susceptible of delivery by alternative legal services providers (LPOs and that lot) – is generated just now from three wellsprings: globalism, regulation and innovation/intellectual property. He might have been talking about the tobacco deal.

Outlines of the deal:

There are three parties. Two are American companies (Lorillard and Reynolds) and one is British (Imperial). All three are very large global enterprises organized into complex corporate structures.

 At every level, the transaction will be shaped by regulation. Antitrust and food-and-drug are only the headline regimes in play.

Essentially, what the three companies are doing is trading out brands. Some brands will move to Reynolds; some to Lorillard and Imperial. For the most part, the tangible property will follow the intellectual property. So, for example, Imperial becomes the owner of Lorillard brands and the plant, equipment and people that make the cigarettes will follow the brands. A major driver is acquisition of an e-cigarette brand, market and technology.

Envision the legal services that will be needed and the numbers and kinds of lawyers and firms that will be needed.

Globalism, regulation and intellectual property/innovation. Complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity.

Catnip for lawyers.

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