I am the sole owner of a six attorney energy law practice in Houston. I have had my practice for twenty years and have enjoyed the independence of being the boss but I am tired of being solely accountable for the success of the practice, having to do all the management, and having all the worry and stress. I believe I have reached the point where I am ready for a partner or partners and I believe that the practice can be positioned for growth if I bring in a lateral partner, make a couple of my associates partners, or merge with another firm. I welcome any suggestions that you may have.
Whether you bring in a lateral partner, elevate your associates to partnership, or merge this will be a major step for you and you will need to do some serious soul searching. Here are some general thoughts:
Partnership is like a marriage. You must marry the right person or persons. Most partnerships that fail do so as a result of partnering up with the wrong partners. Compatibility is critical. Consider:
Thinking of merging? Research indicates that 1/3 to 1/2 of all mergers fail to meet expectations due to cultural misalignment and personnel problems. Don’t try to use a merger or acquisition as a life raft, for the wrong reasons and as your sole strategy. Successful mergers are based upon a sound integrated business strategy that creates synergy and a combined firm that produces greater client value than either firm can produced alone. Right reasons for merging might include:
Reasons for wanting to merge and your objectives. Ask yourself the following questions?
Partnering up with others can be a great move for you if you make the right people partners for the right reasons or merge with the right people for the right reasons. Due your due diligence and your homework.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC