Global Legal Law Firm
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Global Legal, Ghilezan firms merge

Global Legal Law Firm merged with the Ghilezan Law Firm and will operate as Global Legal Law Firm. The merger is expected to create a more comprehensive infrastructure, reduce response times and expand areas of legal expertise. "This is a merger of two highly compatible firms," Global Legal representatives stated. "Our companies have worked together for years, and we are longtime personal friends. We hold similar values and philosophies on doing business, producing an excellent result for the client." 

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Q: Your press release stated that your merger creates a more comprehensive infrastructure and expands your base of qualified attorneys. How will the new organization improve operational efficiencies? How will this benefit your clients?

A: The combination of resources brings on attorneys and staff with a broader experience dealing with diverse matters.  Like Global, the Ghilezan firm litigated many disputes related to franchises.  And while civil litigation operates within confined rules, the strategies and tactics used differ from case-to-case.  Thus, combining the two firms brings on additional experience to service a broader range of our clients’ needs.  Further, with the additional manpower, Global can provide a faster turnaround on projects, such reviewing agreements.

Q: Your companies have a long-term relationship. What compatible interests, philosophies and values do your two companies share?

A: Both firms are dedicated to providing top-level service and analysis on an individual basis.  Despite the expansion, we are committed to keeping our boutique feel so that projects are handled by the most-qualified person.  This also compliments our dedication to a work/life balance, where our staff is happier because they are able to work on the projects that they enjoy and are the best at.  This means the client receives better service and results. 

Q: When did you first begin working together and how did your relationship evolve into a partnership?

A: Our firms began working together over three years ago simply cross-referring business that was within each respective firm’s expertise.  Discussions regarding a partnership occurred almost immediately after seeing how the two firms complimented each other.

Q: In your press release, your company resolved to continue its brand promises and heritage of quality work by qualified specialists. What steps will you take to ensure a smooth transition?

A: The plan has been in development for quite some time.  Every consideration was taken to ensure that the merger would not hurt either firm’s business, which depends on continuing to provide the expected results, and maintain the personal relationships.  Thus, Global instituted a highly qualified and experience firm manager and support staff along with an updated CRM system to take the role as “air traffic control,” to oversee all communications, correspondence, and filings that allows for full visibility and oversight in real time.

Q: What recommendations do you have for companies to properly vet potential partners?

A: The most important part of considering potential partners is to make sure that those partners will further the client’s end goal.  This requires an up front plan and road map, and then to work backwards to see how the partner will further that goal.  Then, the best way to vet a potential partner is to ask others in the industry regarding their experience and dealings.  Global has worked in the payments industry for over ten years, and has a broad rolodex of clients and entities that were adverse to clients and can generally get a good read on the entities reputation and business practices.

Q: What are some common M&A pitfalls and how can they be avoided?

A: The biggest pitfall is not having an attorney well-versed in the payments space review the agreements.  Many agreements have obligations that simply are not possible.  And in many circumstances, it does not matter what the agreement states because the party that controls the cash flow has superior bargaining power.  We see it too often where an ISO or agent is being victimized by an ISO or processor and the ISO simply threatens to cut off their compensation, which can make financing litigation difficult. Similarly, putting all your eggs in one basket is a common pitfall.  In this industry, there are multiple companies that offer every feasible service.  Relying on one such company can be dangerous because even the largest processors have made some aggressive and one-sided moves that can cripple a business.

Q: What are your near-term, long-term predictions for M&A activities in payments?

In the near future, we expect to see further consolidation of the ISOs and agents under the larger ISOs.  Dealing direct with the processors does not make sense in the current landscape.  The ability to leverage and offload responsibilities and risk creates a greater opportunities for ISOs and agents to do only what they do best, which is sell. But with decreased regulation, the potential for liability will increase, and the processors and ISOs will continue to force liability downstream.  Thus, the existence of the ISOs and agents will never completely go away as the separation is necessary to preserve firewalls from liability and reputational risks.

Long term, once regulation returns, we forecast that a greater consolidation will occur, such as the Card Scheme Rules or Self-Regulations being enforced to the degree that all sub-agents and ISOs be registered direct and abide by certain policies.  And that level of control can make the sub-ISO, agent, or even ISO an employee of the ISO or processor.  That will lead to greater consolidation. Otherwise, we do not forecast much change.  As emerging technologies develop, they are quickly duplicated in this industry.  Thus, it’s just a matter of vetting out the entity that meats the client’s end goal

Olivia Sugiura