One way to continue to grow for law firms is through mergers and acquisitions. According to Altman Weil, a well-executed acquisition can improve a law firm’s financial health. As of July 1st, there were 52 mergers.
Most of the mergers have been domestic but during the first six months of 2017, 11 mergers of law firms were cross-borders. A good example was the merger of 500-lawyer Womble Carlyle, a North Carolina-based firm with an office in Wilmington, and Bond Dickinson, a 580-lawyer firm based in the United Kingdom.
Mergers can expand the geographic presence of a law firm or add a practice group in a new area that is fully staffed and ready to go. Ideally when contemplating a merger, it is important for the firms to consider culture and evaluate how the new firm will fit in with the original firm.
Key words that describe a culture might include collaborative, commitment to excellence, community involvement, and diversity. If the culture matches up well, the success of the merger is greatly increased.
There is hard work involved in a merger. Clients need reassurance about continuing representation, conflicts of interest have to be cleared, new Partners and Associates need to be welcomed and onboarded in a timely fashion.
Being open to new opportunities requires some flexibility, as well as a deep understanding of the new firm. Applying standard business development guidelines such as gathering financials, researching practice groups, studying the resumes of partners and associates is paramount to an agreeable merger.
We can help with a smooth transition.