Mergers and Acquisitions

Partners in Strategic Growth

We are preeminent strategic advisors on law firm combinations. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, we were involved in three combinations involving Am Law 100, 200 or Global 100 firms on both sides of each deal. Over the past two decades, we have advised on many of the most successful and historic law firm combinations between firms in the United States, Great Britain, and the People’s Republic of China. We counsel law firms of every size, from local and regional partnerships to leading global participants in the legal sector. In every combination, our goal is to optimize the value proposition of the combined firm as driven by its people, practices, culture, brand equity, and desired position in the marketplace.

Our Experience

Our consultants serve as trusted advisors to firm leadership on all aspects of mergers and acquisitions, including developing a merger strategy, building internal consensus for the strategy, analyzing and prioritizing targets and suitors, and facilitating discussions between them. We have served as advisors to the deal, as well as independent advisors to both targets and suitors. We offer particular value in overcoming the often vexing impediments to successful mergers, from governance issues to conflicts, choice of name, and disparate compensation systems.

Our Approach

While each combination is unique, engagements typically include some or all of the following:

  • Work with firm leadership to create an expansion strategy that will accelerate achievement of the firm’s short- and long-term vision
  • Conduct market analysis and build consensus among key partners around criteria for candidate firms
  • Develop a list of target firms based on our client’s priorities and facilitate meetings between firm leaders
  • Prepare for meetings with candidate firms by supplying relevant data and helping identify and articulate the value proposition for the combined firm
  • Formally and informally facilitate merger discussions, manage the due diligence process, and analyze data relevant to the combination
  • Develop and implement solutions to bridge performance and other gaps between the firms, as well as internal and external communications to achieve client objectives
  • Advise on realizing the benefits of the combination through client interviews and leveraging cross-servicing and cross-selling opportunities in the combined firm

With Scale Top of Mind, More Law Firms Are Willing to Put Merger Option on Table

Law firm mergers are off to another strong start in 2024, with multiple combinations that span all corners of the continental U.S announced this week. Kent Zimmermann notes that over the past 24 months, higher-performing, higher-quality firms are putting mergers and acquisitions on the table when they hadn’t done so historically. One huge driver on why so many firms are interested in mergers is the recognition of significant benefits of scale.

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Clients or Partners? Who Does a Big Law Merger Have to Please More?

Kent Zimmermann and Hugh Simons define a merger as one means for a firm to drive its strategy forward. In this article, they discuss what exactly a strategy is, how, in theory, a merger might move a firm forward, and in practice, what tends to happen in a merger.

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Law Firms Turn to Layoffs Amid Slowing Demand

A hiring spree during recent years left many firms overstaffed. Citing economic headwinds and slowing demand, some large law firms are tightening their belts, shrinking their attorney ranks and eliminating professional staff. The decline in demand for legal work last year followed years of growth driven by a boom in mergers-and-acquisitions work, prompting hiring sprees accompanied by six-figure bonuses for even lower-level attorneys. Peter Zeughauser observes that the demand for legal work “has fallen off the cliff. The firms that were really red hot and significantly over-hired are the first movers to lay people off.”

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