Selling A Law Firm – What Does ‘Selling’ Really Mean?
Types of Sales:
Selling a law practice includes both an internal sale of ownership to a partner or non-equity attorney(s) through a succession plan process and an external sale through a transition-based acquisition by an outside attorney or law firm. We break these down into two typical paths:
- Marketplace selling of law firms
- Internal sales and succession planning
Selling a law practice is a very different process than other business sales. Most law practices, especially the solo practitioners and small partnerships tend to be very dependent on the owner-attorneys for not just management, but also for production of revenues through the legal knowledge and client relationships they personally maintain.
When you go to sell a law practice it is a confidential planning process to determine the value of your law practice, marketing approach, transaction structure, buyer criteria and other key elements, but it also involves working through how you as the owner-attorney can transition clients, management and legal work to the buying attorney or firm. Any sale will have a transition plan, the timeline however will greatly depend on your goals and the practice’s needs.
You Aren’t Done Yet.
Selling your law firm doesn’t mean you are done practicing law. Given that most all sales, both internal succession-based plans and external sales require some form and length of time for your attorney transition to help ensure the transition of clients, knowledge and other aspects plan on practicing law for a while after a sale is complete. Better yet, if you just want to transfer ownership, but keep practicing for additional years beyond the transition plan most all buyers would welcome you as a continued practicing attorney under a better, more flexible practice schedule.
Now Is The Time To Start.
Preparing to sell your law firm or succession planning is much like getting a will for your law practice and tends to take on the same urgency as thoughts and words like ‘I’ll get that started after the 1st of the year’ or ‘I really need to make some progress on that…after I get caught up with all these client files.” Given that timelines for each practice sale vary greatly now is the time to explore which path is right for you and begin the process. You always control the timeline on your personal goals once started, but the key is to allow yourself enough time to be able to accomplish your exit goals. That’s why we are here. Contact us and we can help make sure these thoughts and good intentions actually turn into a plan that is implemented.