Managing Law Firms in Transition

Latest from Managing Law Firms in Transition

It almost seems like a broken record to hear about the popularity of law firm mergers.  Legal industry publications report on the latest mergers and hot market trends.  Indeed, just recently The American Lawyerreviewed the merger opportunities that abound for mid-size firms in its Mid-size Firm Leaders Awash in Big Law Merger Offers. Despite the popularity of mergers among many firm leaders today, positive outcomes are not assured.  Mergers can fail-depending on how success is…
What is your law firm worth? This question is paramount when the owners of a firm consider the possibilities related to a merger, a succession plan involving existing firm members, or the outright sale of an established practice. There are variations by state as to what can and cannot be sold as part of transitioning of ownership of a law practice; and even given the existence of suggested formulas for valuation, when it comes to…
Every year law firms of all sizes merge. For some of the smaller law firms merging, the decision to combine may have been driven by the need for an effective succession plan. In these cases in which long-time management is unenthused about the prospect of turning the keys over the next generation, merger can be pursued in lieu of the more traditional internal succession approach. From the point of deciding to seek a succession plan…
The best way a mentor can prepare another leader is to expose him or her to other great people.    John Maxwell Quality decision-making has a great deal to do with shaping the ultimate fate of all law firms.  Today’s post focuses on the value of today’s law firm leader engaging the insight and decision-making acumen of seasoned outside business professionals when considering the transition of their practice through a sale. Think about it. When we…
As business organizations go, law firms are different because they can face greater stability challenges.  Sure, law firms with iconic names seem to rock along year after year.  But for every bedrock firm there are others that struggle to survive.  And even some of the firms regarded for their steady state are like the proverbial duck bobbing on the pond-calm on the surface but furiously paddling underneath the waterline to stay unruffled. No matter a…
This is the second in a two part series addressing the idea of selling your law practice as part of a succession plan. Part one addressed issues related to defining personal objectives, compliance with local bar rules, and practice valuation. In this post we will look at three remaining considerations: Finding a buyer, Negotiating the transaction; and Transitioning client relationships Finding a buyer There are a number of approaches to identifying the right buyer for…
Law firm mergers happen-a lot.  While the mega mergers get the publicity, many mergers stay under the radar because they involve smaller firms being absorbed by larger firms. Whether for reasons of market dynamics, succession, or battling for growth, some smaller firms simply conclude that life will be better as part of a bigger shop. A good merger requires basic compatibility, often around areas such as culture, financial metrics, operations, clients, and compensation.  If most of…
If you practice law, there is one eventuality that should be added to that familiar duo of Death and Taxes. No one talks much about it, but it warrants the same attention to detail. The subject? The end of your practice.  As is the case with its two more familiar rivals for attention, ignoring it will not prove wise.  The fact is that this change will probably be the most significant professional transition of your career…
Law firm mergers have been in the news with combinations being announced seemingly every week.  So far in 2018, the many mergers closed have drawn the attention of the media and law firm leaders alike.  The rationale for any of the announced mergers depends on the specific transaction and the firms involved.  Whatever the reason, they all come with great hope. Any decision to pursue a merger should be premised on an underlying strategy that…
If you change partners every time it gets tough or you get a little dissatisfied, then I don’t think you get the richness that’s available in a long-term relationship.                   Jeff Bridges Another year and more turmoil in the legal profession! Although for some law firms the economy has led to marginally improved performance, for many (most?) the changing market for legal services continues to create serious…