3 Common Mistakes Attorneys Make When Selling or Merging Their Law Firm

Jeremy Poock

Founder of Senior Attorney Match

Ari Kornhaber

Ari Kornhaber

EVP & Head of Corporate Development at Esquire Bank

For the legal industry, 2022 has brought in a whirlwind of change marked by the migration of consumers to online channels and the accelerated level of consolidation activity.

For those forward-looking law firms that anticipated the need to invest in digital marketing, case management/intake technologies, and operations resources, change has translated into growth. These law firms are now looking to expand their practices and geographic locations.

For those law firms that chose to maintain the status quo during the past two pandemic years, the changes to the legal industry have often translated into the potential risk of revenue drop-off and its coinciding loss of firm value.

According to Jeremy Poock, Founder of Senior Attorney Match, who advises firms about succession planning, most lawyers, ages 55 to 75, who manage smaller practices with 5 to 20 attorneys, make three common mistakes when considering selling or merging their law practices:

  1. They rely on a misconception that an internal successor will rise from the ranks to purchase the owner’s practice.
  2. They do not consider the benefits of joining with a growing law firm.
  3. They embrace the status quo by believing that tomorrow will continue looking like yesterday and today, despite the realities of the post-2020 legal industry.

While considering an internal successor as the purchaser of a law practice may appear to be an obvious path for law firm continuity and growth, mistake #1 tends to result in disappointment or revenue drop-off. Mostly, this is because internal candidates do not step up to become owners, and worse, they often decide to seek employment at another law firm because they ultimately only want a job.

For law firm owners who embrace the status quo and continue relying upon pre-2020 “word-of-mouth” and a website only approach to business development, together with outdated case intake methods, mistake #3 can place their firms at a competitive disadvantage as growing law firms outpace them in today’s digital age.

Watch the 6-minute video below to understand more about buy-ins, buy-outs, and the three common mistakes attorneys make when selling or merging a practice, featuring Jeremy Poock—Founder of Senior Attorney Match.

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