The much heralded consolidation of the legal services sector appears at last to be under way. This is being driven by the liberalisation and deregulation of the market. This in turn has led to the emergence of new entrants and new business models. Add the global financial crisis and the inability of firms to recruit Partners in the years that followed, the shift in the balance of power from supplier (law firm) to consumer (clients), increasing regulatory and compliance burdens and it’s no surprise that thousands of law firms have merger on their radars.
It’s not unusual for law firms and their busy management teams to try and work through the merger process themselves. But that process of identifying what you are looking for, establishing what funding may be required, what structures will be needed, identifying and evaluating targets, arranging and holding initial discussions, ascertaining cultural ‘fit’, cracking the ‘deal-breakers’, negotiating terms and completing the deal takes up an enormous amount of management time – and energy. And that’s before the real work starts – on planning the integration and success of the new business.
The lack of independence and objectivity doesn’t help on the big issues such as ‘who gets what’, for example. Sometimes all that is required is an impartial ‘honest-broker’ to facilitate discussions and help resolve issues. Often, the firm aiming to grow by merger or acquisition, or the firm seeking to be acquired, would benefit from the assistance of an experienced consultant to guide them through the entirety of the merger process.
I was the driving force behind the merger which created SAS Daniels in 2006 and subsequently led the firm through three further mergers and the bolt-on of a five-lawyer team. I was invited by The Law Society to edit the Law Management Section Merger Toolkit, published in 2012.
If you would like to discuss how I can help you and your firm, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07753 605236.