Mergers & Acquisitions: Structuring and Leading Deals

Program Overview


Mergers & Acquisitions: Structuring and Leading Deals is aimed at those with responsibility for managing, overseeing and implementing M&A transactions, with course material viewing M&A through a variety of lenses – strategic, financial, legal, and operational.  It is designed to provide participants with a variety of in-depth analyses of different components of the M&A process:  how M&A can be a core component of firm strategy, how targets and synergies are valued, how M&A transactions are sourced, initiated, and priced, how deals are structured and designed, what kinds of disputes and potential lawsuits arise over the course of an M&A transaction, and how targets are integrated after the deal is formally complete.  The focus will be transactions in major markets such as the US and the UK, but the course will also cover aspects of cross-border M&A.  Participants need not have any background in the material, although the course should also add value to those with previous M&A experience.

Program Dates | June 15 – 19, 2020

Program Fee | $14,000



  • To provide in-depth look at M&A deals through a variety of lenses
  • To give participants a sense of how an M&A deal unfolds over time
  • To provide tools for use in strategy, valuation, negotiation, design and implementation of M&A
  • To give non-M&A specialists (e.g., general counsel with a litigation background) with a base for overseeing M&A specialists (e.g., outside law firms, investment banks)
  • To allow those overseeing M&A to anticipate likely flash points, risks, and disputes that can arise over the course of an M&A transaction


The Learning Model

Case studies, lectures, classroom discussions, and small group discussions focused on professional service firms afford participants the opportunity to deliberate on the determinants of sustained firm success.

Case studies on law firms and other professional service firms give participants exposure to real-world issues and help them work through possible approaches and solutions to the problems that professional service firm leaders confront. Participants practice making decisions about challenging real-life management problems in professional service settings.


This program will explore the following concepts through the lens of M&A:

  • Strategy – When do do a deal and how to assess if a deal is good
  • Courtship – Who to partner with and what elements to include in NDAs, Letters of Intent, and other contracts
  • Finance – Identifying the financial implications of a deal
  • Legal Negotiation – Having discussions centered around structure, tax, anti-trust, and regulation
  • Negotiation – Executing and completing the deal
  • Integration – How to work between the two entities once the deal is complete

Unlike most other M&A executive education programs, this program will provide a comprehensive look at the process that includes both the business and legal aspects of M&A. Therefore, acceptance to the program is not contingent upon possession of a J.D., LL.B., or equivalent. Participants in this program should be positioned within their organization to advise on or oversee M&A deals. In particular, individuals who are new to that role, taking on greater responsibility, or who need a more well-rounded understanding of M&A and its effects on their organization or client, will benefit from this program.

Participants for this program include in-house lawyers and others who oversee M&A transactions for large companies and private equity firms, as well as lawyers in other kinds of firms – investment banks, accounting firms, consulting firms – that need to understand the M&A process as part of the services they provide.  Participants also include partners at law firms that handle aspects of M&A and wish to obtain a rounder and more complete view of other aspects of M&A transactions.

This program is open to participants from around the world. We require a proficiency in English to participate. Participants need not have any background in the material, although the course should also add value to those with previous M&A experience.

To ensure a collegial, small group setting, the class is limited.

Visit the Admissions page for information on the process.

Our core faculty are members of the Harvard Law School faculty – distinguished academicians, educators, researchers, authors, and practitioners in their respective fields. Representing various disciplines, they are close to practice through relationships with law firm leaders and through personal involvement as consultants for top firms around the world.

Program Teaching Team

John Coates IV – Program Chair

Mihir Desai

Benjamin C. Esty

Scott Mayfield

Robert H. Mnookin

Holger Spamann

John Van Maanen

Learn more about the faculty by visiting our Faculty page and using the drop down menu (“Search By Faculty Type”) to select the program of interest.