Mergers: A safe harbour or wrecked on the rocks?

Mergers: A safe harbour or wrecked on the rocks?

It can seem to partners sitting around the boardroom table or at the annual strategy away day, that a way to protect the firm and ensure a stable future for its people is to increase scale. And in some ways, a quicker way to achieve scale rather than through organic growth is to find a partner firm to merge with. Along the lines of ‘if you build it, they will come’ then surely a larger firm will attract bigger clients and greater amounts of work and fees? Well, it’s not always the case (no pun intended).

Most law firms will know first-hand the factors that have driven consolidation in the UK legal market in recent years. Deregulation and a trying economic climate have for many firms meant difficult trading conditions characterised by increased competition, more demanding clients and relentless pressure on fees. A merger can be a way around these challenges, provided that it is executed well and attention is paid to successful integration around a shared vision. Otherwise the shiny new firm will be a bigger, more complex business with all the same problems of the previous firms combined. So here are a few tips to getting it right.

Do your preparation  

“The more time and effort that can be put into pre-merger discussions, the less the agony afterwards” a partner at a leading law firm advises. Ensure the firm is ready to enter discussions. Make sure there is a written business or strategic plan that can be used as a framework when considering merger pa

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About the author:

Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.