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

It’s Different

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.

Do you want to sell or transition to attorney(s) inside your law practice? Do you want to find a buyer in the confidential marketplace?

What’s the difference between an internal sale and external?
  • If you have a potential attorney-successor or group within your current firm who you think would be the ideal buyers for your practice we can help in developing the ownership and practice transition plan for the benefit of all parties.
  • If you need to look to the outside for your buyer we are here to help and the growing marketplace for buying and selling of law firms is your path to find a successor which meets your needs and goals for exit.
How do I know which is right for me?
  • It’s a tough decision and is not just based on having ‘someone’ to potentially take over. We will work through your needs, the practice structure and overall goals to help you determine if internal is an option for you or you would be better suited with seeking an outside successor.
  • The financials, client needs, successor goals and many others can all impact making that key decision.
What does selling a law practice really mean?
  • Selling a law practice is not a handover of the keys and walking away. That may be a good thing or bad thing, but the truth is in order to preserve value built, continue quality legal services to clients and the community and make it all come together a solid transition plan post-closing is needed.
  • That transition timeline varies based on your goals and needs as well as those of your practice, your successor(s), your clients and a number of others, but a transition plan is truly the key to success.
Does my practice really have any value?
  • Yes! All practices have value. Try us and we will show you what value your practice has and how we can maximize that for your exit plans.
When to start?
Now, is the best time to start seeking your succession options. Whether creating an internal platform for succession or seeking an external successor starting early is key.

Internal Sale or Transfer– Internal sale or transfer is sometimes the preferred path for transfer, but choosing if it is the best path for you before beginning that process is key. We will work with you on choosing which method is best and how to start the internal transfer process to avoid issues down the road.

  1. Are your associates on the same page as you when it comes to succession planning?
  2. What upward mobility do they have?
  3. How to start the conversation?
  4. Does your firm have a culture for succession?
  5. What upward mobility do they have?

External Sale or Transfer– Finding the right successor for your location and practice areas at the right price can take time. We will walk you through the process, so reach out today to discuss your timeline.

    1. Who or which firms would be ideal fits as strategic successors/buyers?
    2. What is the process and timeline?
    3. What if I’m not ready to stop practicing yet – should I still start the sale process now?
    4. How does this structure work?

What Our Clients Say !

“The transition was smooth, the clients were glad to know their new advocate was enthusiastic and ready to help them and the practice never skipped a beat.”

Erik B.- Buyer

2019-01-02T01:16:03+00:00

Erik B.- Buyer

“The transition was smooth, the clients were glad to know their new advocate was enthusiastic and ready to help them and the practice never skipped a beat.”
“Amanda and Tom introduced me to a buyer I would have never met otherwise.  Throughout the process, they were available, helpful, and experienced in keeping us on track toward closing.  The entire process went better than expected, and I have Amanda and Tom to thank for that.”

-Bankruptcy Firm Seller LPE#541

2019-01-02T01:27:54+00:00

-Bankruptcy Firm Seller LPE#541

“Amanda and Tom introduced me to a buyer I would have never met otherwise.  Throughout the process, they were available, helpful, and experienced in keeping us on track toward closing.  The entire process went better than expected, and I have Amanda and Tom to thank for that.”
“Thank you again for all of your help. I didn’t think it was possible to get money for our practice and you proved me wrong.”

-Residential Real Estate Seller LPE#522

2019-01-02T01:25:47+00:00

-Residential Real Estate Seller LPE#522

“Thank you again for all of your help. I didn’t think it was possible to get money for our practice and you proved me wrong.”
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