I am the owner of a solo practice located in the western Boston suburbs. I have been considering selling my practice. Do you see many practitioners selling their practices?
Yes, I am seeing many solo practitioners selling their practices. However, I also see many lawyers looking to exit their practice start by thinking that they will sell their practice. However, when all is said and done the arrangements often take one of the following arrangements:
- Admitting an existing associate to partnership and then having the associate buy out the owners partnership interest in a retirement payout.
- Bringing in an associate and mentoring and grooming them, admitting the associate to partnership when he or she is ready, and then having the associate buy out your partnership interest in a retirement payout. Sometimes partnership interests are sold gradually over time.
- Merger with another law firm.
- A wind-down of the practice and then Of Counsel relationship with another firm with a client transition/payout arrangement.
Many solo practitioners are often taken back by the inflexibility of some of the various state rules of professional conduct concerning sale of law practices and find the above approaches more flexible.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC