Our firm is a 4 attorney firm in Columbus, Ohio. Three of our partners are in their 60s and contemplating their exit strategies. We have a very profitable high profile practice and have been approached by a couple of very large firms concerning possible merger. We believe that this would be our best exit strategy. What mistakes have you seen other firms similar to ours make that we should avoid?
Mistakes can run the gambit – from choosing the wrong marriage partner – to getting into a deal that does not make business sense. A common problem that I have sees is the lack of a timeline and project plan resulting in project drift and lost time. I just got involved with a small firm that had been working with the managing partner and a small team from a much larger firm. After a few months of financial and other document exchange, informal gatherings, etc., these individuals advised the partners in the small firm that they believed all looked good and led the partners in the small firm to believe that a deal with eminent. However, after one year had passed the small team in the larger firm presented the matter to the full partnership for a vote on the merger and the partnership voted against the merger.
Don't invest a year with only one firm only to find out that they are not interested.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC