Dan Simpkin

Dan studied physics at the University of Bristol, before completing his GDL and LPC at BPP University. He joined us in 2018 at the start of his training contract and qualified into corporate and M&A in September 2020.

Could you provide a bit of background on the deal?

We advised on the acquisition of The Ritz Hotel, London by one of the firm’s clients as part of an auction sale process.

What was your specific role in the deal?

I was the trainee in the corporate and M&A team. The transaction required support from a range of specialists across the firm, however the corporate and M&A team was relatively lean, in line with our focussed, partner-led approach, and so I was able to work closely with senior members of the team.

My role involved conducting due diligence, drafting transaction documents, liaising with specialist lawyers and helping associates to bring various work streams together and drive them forward.

Which aspect of the deal interested you the most and why?

As buy side advisors in an auction sale process, we needed to think strategically and react quickly on behalf of our client, which I found fascinating. The fact that the deal was regularly covered in the press during the process acted to amplify that need, demanding a considered approach from the team.

Did you learn anything new?

I learned how the preparedness of the legal team fits into the bigger picture of the dynamics between counterparties on transactions. I learned that sellers are often concerned about transaction timetable and execution risk and that being ready to execute a transaction cleanly and at pace can help tip the balance in a bidder’s favour.

I learned that in order to get to that position a huge amount of work and preparation can be required.

What piece of advice would you give to a trainee starting out at Macfarlanes?

Keep an open mind regarding where you might want to qualify. If you are particularly interested in a certain type of work then make that clear to those supervising you. Communicating well and being open-minded will help you get the most out of each of your seats.

What one characteristic do you think makes a good lawyer?

I think creativity is what distinguishes exceptional lawyers. The perfect resolution to a problem is often not the most obvious. The lawyers I have worked with are incredibly talented at distilling the information available to them into the most effective plan of action. Their ability to think laterally and frame novel solutions to the toughest problems delivers a great deal of added value to clients.

I learned how the preparedness of the legal team fits into the bigger picture of the dynamics between counterparties on transactions.
Dan Simpkin
Deal profiles