Law Firm Mergers — an Outlook

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To merge basically is to come together to form one big firm, which will not only be stronger financially but will also attract a higher number of clientele. This is a benefit to all the partners to the merger. As mentioned earlier, the major reason among others that make firms merge is to ensure survival, especially in terms of finances. Merging however should be a well thought out decision on the part of each firm and should only be done if it would benefit all the firms involved. It is also important to set very clear standards on the kind of firm to merge with. The merging firms must have something in common or at least share some objectives and goals. Lack of sharing the same goals and visions between or among merging firms may lead to conflicts arising after the merger.

In order to identify the right partner for a merger, as mentioned earlier, it is important to consider the goals, objective and missions of the other firm or firms that you intend to merge with. It is also good to consider the benefit that will accrue on the part of your firm following the merger. This is important so that it may not result in a dependency kind of relationship among the partners to the merger, but instead a mutual relationship where every party to the merger mutually benefits. In legal jobs and in any other profession in general, there is no equality among business enterprises. This means that even during a merger, the law firms that are merging are not equal financially. Some firms may have more assets than others.

It is also possible that some firms have more liabilities than others. Experts therefore advise that before entering into a merger contract, it is of the utmost importance that the merging firms agree on getting an assessor to assess the value of assets and liabilities of each of the firms. This is to ensure that there is no firm that will be forced by the merger to carry financial burdens of another, or benefit unfairly from the proceeds of another. The assessor agreed upon by the merging partners should not only be impartial, but one who has no interest in either of the firms or the merging process in general. This means that he should not be an employee of either the merging firms or have any interest whatsoever in the merging firms.

The assessor, having made assessments on the value of both the assets of each merging company, then makes an analysis so as to know whether the merger is of benefit or not. If so, he then makes recommendations on what firm will make the compensations to the other, depending on the values of assets and liabilities of each company. A merger is quite a complex process, given that it involves bringing together two distinct firms each with their standards and way of doing things. In addition, it could be that the merging firms do not have much in common in terms of goals and objectives. An expert is therefore needed to guide the way through and give the best strategy on how to go about a merger.

With the merging concept being on the rise especially among law firms, it is important to make a careful decision so as not to waste the resources of your law firm. Experts indicate that a well thought merger is highly beneficial to both partners to the merger. Legitimacy is the keyword that most experts in the merging business will always use. According to the experts, the merging firms will only reap benefits if there is legitimacy or genuine business conduct for all the firms. This means that a firm is not merging with another to hide its identity or to conceal the true nature of its transactions. It is also good to ensure that there is no party to the merger who has an interest or who stands to gain as an individual from the merger. Should that be the case, then legitimacy as an important factor lacks.

Mergers have a great impact on all the merging partners. Virtually all operations of firms that intend to merge are affected. First of all, in relation to the employees, a merger could result in massive layoffs. This is because the various jobs that were done separately by different people turn out to be one job which requires only one person. However, looking at the merger issue from a different perspective, it is clear that whenever a merger occurs, the final organization that is formed is much bigger than the initial ones. This in essence means that even the work load also increases. This would therefore mean that there may arise a need to hire more people to cope with the great workload. Either way, employees are affected greatly by a merger.

Another positive impact of a merger is that there is a combination of diversified ways and means of practicing the legal profession. This means that this combination will work towards ensuring that clients receive quality services. It is worth mentioning at this point that it is not all mergers that are successful. It is for this reason that experts advise that individual law firms that intend to have mergers should take their time and ensure that there is compatibility, especially in terms of goals, missions, and objectives. This will help to prevent breaking of mergers.

About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

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