Law Firm Mergers & Team Additions


Are you thinking of merging your law firm or of adding a team in a specific discipline to augment your existing firm? Are you currently leading a team and looking for a more appropriate home for that team? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then read on. You are not alone.


The benefits that can be achieved from such events, done successfully, are clear:

  • Enhanced ability to attract the best talent
  • Improved competitive position
  • The ability to provide new services to existing clients
  • The ability to attract new clients who would otherwise be out of reach


The rationale for such events is also clear – the legal market is highly fragmented, with over 10,000 separate practices in the UK, a few of which are very large, the majority of which are relatively small. By way of illustration, the largest law firms operating in the UK have more than 2,000 partners across international offices, with turnovers in excess of £1bn pa, whilst those around 200th in size have turnovers of c£5m pa and less than 10 partners.


Whilst there is a place for small, highly specialised niche firms, there is a compelling argument for small and medium sized firms to look at mergers and other combinations such as team additions as part of a growth strategy.


In this latter case, it is important to find the right merger partner or team addition – one that fits culturally, bring synergies and economies of scale, added security, increased ability to win quality of work etc.


At Garfield Robbins we have twenty years’ experience of the legal market and one of the largest databases of law firms in the UK. Our objective is to help you to find the right opportunity with the best strategic and cultural fit, and on the best terms.


We have a well defined, methodical approach with clear processes and actions at each stage:


Preparation
– we discuss and confirm your aims and objectives, review your existing business and agree priorities. We look with you at whether your own ‘house’ is in order in terms of:

    1. Profitability, equity structure, obligations/liabilities etc
    2. A clear vision/strategy for seeking a merger partner, team or, for a team, a new home
    3. Internal buy in & agreement of key decision makers


Presentation
– we prepare a detailed presentation which includes information about the firm or team, its strategy, its culture, its progress to date etc. For firms looking for merger partners and teams, our objective is to present a compelling argument supporting the merger/team acquisition approach.


Research
– we use our extensive knowledge of the legal market to identify potential opportunities. Our approach is analytical and methodical (rather than instinct and past relationship based), as the important thing is to identify the right combination. We analyse likely suitability according to structural, cultural, functional and financial fit, and likely appetite. We approach decision makers, initially on a ‘no names’ basis to ascertain potential interest.


Joint Business Planning
– once it is clear (and you agree) that there is a real opportunity, we will set up and host a joint business planning session with yourselves and the ‘target’ firm/team. The objective is to establish (and quantify where possible) the extent of the strategic, commercial and financial rationale of the combination.


Negotiation/financial model
– we work with you to establish and agree financial and other terms, prior to the entering into of Heads of Agreement.


Due diligence
– we will oversee and co-ordinate any financial or legal due diligence if required


Process management – we will oversee and co-ordinate the process from Heads of Agreement through to Completion as required


Post Completion integration
– it is important to protect and bind in key employees through the process (their buy in is needed early on) and in the post completion integration process. A swift and fair integration process immediately post completion is required. This is best achieved by the firm’s management team, although we can and will assist where requested.


    We are convinced that no other firm has such a sophisticated or methodical approach to the formation of new combinations, whether by merger or by the transfer of teams between firms.


    To discuss this area further, please call Paul Turner, Director, on 0845 671 0190 or email him at p.turner@garfieldrobbins.com

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