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Q&A with new partner Rebecca Zwier

Capital Markets, Corporate and M&A
RebeccaZwier portrait

Newly appointed corporate and M&A partner Rebecca Zwier describes her path to partnership and how she approaches M&A transactions across diverse sectors of the economy.

Before joining Arnold Bloch Leibler, you worked for some years as an in-house lawyer and also with a large international firm. What would you say are the main differences in the work and culture here?

Working as an in-house lawyer has a lot going for it but I found I missed the intensity of the transaction environment and the variety of clients from across different sectors of the economy.

Arnold Bloch Leibler was also able to give me far greater direct exposure to clients much earlier in my career than I would have had at a larger firm. One of the great benefits of that is you’re able to take the journey with clients through the whole lifecycle of a transaction – it makes the work more stimulating and rewarding, and also allows you to form a stronger relationship with clients.

You've worked on some very significant, very complex private M&A deals across different sectors of the economy, from agricultural chemicals to beauty product manufacturing to regional media operations. What are the main challenges in pivoting between these different commercial environments?

First of all, clients are people, and advising them well requires you to understand their individual needs and aspirations. That’s the main challenge and, regardless of which sector they operate in, the main drivers - money, time frames, business growth - are often much the same, whether it’s in the beauty sector or agriculture.

That said, the regulatory environment and technological or other disruption being experienced by a particular industry at a particular time can certainly colour a transaction and advisers need to be alive to those industry specific nuances.

How has your practice developed into what it is today and what particular qualities/skills/experience would you say you bring to Arnold Bloch Leibler’s highly regarded corporate and M&A group?

At Arnold Bloch Leibler, it’s a given that lawyers are technically excellent but there’s a whole other skill set we’re also expected to have. I appreciate being known and valued as a lawyer who really listens to clients and works to understand their deeper drivers. That involves reading people and reading a room, not only from what is being said but also what isn’t being said.

What are the current trends in M&A that will drive your day-to-day work in the coming year?

Last year, there was a rush of deals put on hold because of COVID but, coming out of that pause, there’s a rush of clients looking for opportunities to jump on. And while there’s a sense that a disproportionate amount of M&A activity is domestic, because people can’t travel, international clients are more dependent on local advisers who they know and trust so we’re being approached to work on a wide range of significant cross-border deals.

You've said you want to be a role model of a woman and a mother succeeding in the law. Why is this important to you and how will you go about it as a young partner?

I grew up being told that, as a woman you can have it all – a career, a family and time to do the things you want to do. But I have learned that while you may be able to have all those things, you can’t necessarily shine in every one of them on the same day. I want to help my colleagues to understand that they are not failing just because they aren’t the best mother or the best lawyer or the best partner in the world on a particular day.

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