Epiris

Epiris began using Apperio in 2018 and has found this to be a crucial tool in helping internal investment and finance teams to understand legal spend in greater detail and manage the external matters currently in progress.

“The cost of executing deals from a legal perspective has increased exponentially over the past 20 years”, according to Bill Priestley, Chief Investment Partner at Epiris. “We have very good relationships with our law firms, but historically one of our bugbears has been the opaque nature of how legal fees are generated, so that it always becomes an after-the-event discussion.”

Epiris invests in UK businesses with an enterprise value of between £75m - £500m. Bill is a member of the company’s investment committee, and is one of a small team responsible for the regular review and selection of the firm’s preferred panel of law firms. Managing legal spend has become one of the “most consistent elements” of his role, however he has been frustrated in the past by a lack of clarity and understanding over what his firm would be paying for in legal fees.

“You’d get a quote for the deal, work on the deal, and then invariably the cost at the end would be considerably more than the quote. You’d then have an old fashioned discussion and haggle to make the fees more palatable, but it was always relatively unscientific and quite awkward.” With legal fees ranging from between £500,000 to £1m per transaction, Bill was looking for ways to manage costs more proactively. However, prior to using Apperio, this was not an easy task. 

The law firm would always give you a breakdown of how they spent their month, but there would be very little ability to manage in real-time how costs were being incurred. It’s like you’re seeing the tip of an iceberg at sea.

Bill Priestley Chief Investment Partner

“The law firm would always give you a breakdown of how they spent their month, but there would be very little ability to manage in real-time how costs were being incurred. It’s like you’re seeing the tip of an iceberg at sea. I’ll have a regular interaction with between one to four lawyers at the firm, but I know that there are probably 50 or 60 lawyers working on our transaction, all issuing timesheets.

“But I don’t have a direct dialogue with these legions of specialists, working on matters from IP to employment, contract and competition law. I know they’re involved, but there’s no way to see or manage that efficiently through the fulcrum of the lead partner.”

Epiris began using Apperio in 2018 and has found this to be a crucial tool in helping internal investment and finance teams to understand legal spend in greater detail and manage the external matters currently in progress.

“When it becomes really interesting is being able to see on a near real-time basis how spend is being incurred. One can occasionally see that a lot of time is spent looking at an issue which may not be of critical commercial importance to us. That’s when it’s working best.”

Apperio brings this visibility, allowing Bill’s team to collaborate more productively with law firms by having timely conversations about the priority of work being completed.

“If you’re dealing with a specialist at the law firm who’s quite detached from the deal, they may not be able to form a judgment on the relative importance of their work, because they don’t have the full picture. We can see when too much time is being spent on an issue, and we can say ‘please dial that back, let’s just find a solution and move on’.

“The key point is that there is a degree of clarity when both sides can see where the time is spent more precisely. Rather than having to say, ‘please send me reams and reams of information’, you can see it in Apperio almost immediately. And not just when the money’s already been spent. I think that really helps.”

To find out more about how Apperio’s legal spend management and matter tracking platform can help improve the clarity of your legal spend for investment and finance teams, visit info.apperio.com/pe or please email info@apperio.com

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