We are a 25 attorney firm and we are discussion the possibility of searching for merger partners? What is the process?
You start with determining your merger objectives. Why do you want to merge? What do you hope to achieve? Is merger compatible with your strategic plan? What size of firm are you considering?
Once you are sure that merger exploration – in general – makes sense – you should insure that your house is in order. In other words – can anything be done to enhance the value and/or marketability of your firm? For example:
Next, develop a merger marketing plan and begin working the plan. Try to generate enough leads that you can explore merger with several firms rather than engaging in "random merger talks" which often result in isolated merger offers with you having no framework for comparison.
Use an outside consulting firm if you need help organizing, identifying candidates, and managing the process.
Once you have merger candidates identified – the real work begins. Here is a general outline of the process:
Merger Accessment (Due Dilligence)
Philosophies, personalities, life styles, do the partners like each other, why does the deal make sense.
Partner Compensation System Comparisons
Retirement, Voluntary Withdrawl, Expulsion Policies
If the two firms decide to proceed with a merger – then the process of merger implementation begins. A merger agreement is executed and a merger implementation plan it put in place. Then you begin working the plan. If the merging firms are of similar size (as opposed to a large firm acquiring a smaller firm) a lot of infrastructure work will need to be done – ranging from IT systems, management structure, space, etc. to accomodate the larger entity.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC