I am the managing partner of a 14 attorney firm in Los Angeles. We are primarily a transactional practice and we are considering looking for a litigation firm to merge with our firm. I would appreciate your thoughts on locating merger candidates.
For larger firms that have a talent or book of business void or solo practitioner and sole owners’ merger is often an appropriate strategy and approach. It all comes down to the finding the right firm, the right culture, and the right fit. The search process can take time as we.Here are some suggestions to help get the search process started.
- Using the Internet and Google, start by thinking about possible target law firm candidates;
- Prepare a merger candidate short list based upon firms that your firm has worked with or have had contact;
- Prepare a merger candidate short list based upon firms that your firm is aware of but have not worked with nor had any contact – cold leads;
- Decide on an initial contact strategy for each target firm and who in your firm will initiate contact;
- Begin contacting target firm and setting up initial meetings;
- Maintain and constant and consistent flow with prospective merger candidates rather than fits-and-starts;
- Work toward a specified target goal and maintain a timeline to avoid project drift;
- If your firm is unable to maintain a constant and consistent flow consider outside assistance;and
- If your firm is unable to identify suitable target candidates, consider some advertising vehicles such as Craigslist, Law Schools, Bar Association, Legal Publishers, Monster.com, Local Newspapers – print and online, and legal recruiting firms.
My experience has been that for small law firms the most successful approach for locating merger candidates has been developing the short list and looking in their own backyard. However, other approaches, including advertising, have worked as well. If the firm decides to use advertising, the firm may want to keep from divulging the firm name too early in the process.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC