Years ago, you decided to be a business owner by opening you own law firm. Throughout the years, you purposely kept the firm at a certain size. Most likely, you enjoyed running your own business and servicing your clients. You decided on the types of clients and matters to handle. You made all hiring decisions. Compensation depended on you. Simply, you created a path that worked for you. As you enter the twilight of your career, have you thought about succession planning for your small law firm?
Succession Planning Options
Of course, like every other decision was yours to make over the years, how you exit your firm is also your decision. If you knew the day was coming and you stopped taking on new clients, perhaps you can just close your doors at a specified time. However, if you have an active practice, you have several succession planning options. Please note that the important word here is planning. Therefore, whichever option you choose, it will take some time and attention.
Find a successor.
You can recruit somebody to come in and take over for you. Ideally, you want somebody who has the legal experience necessary to service your clients. More importantly, you probably want a successor who will work well with your clients.
Merge with another small law firm.
Like a successor, you want to find a merger partner that shares your core values. Once merged, you have time to introduce clients to your new partner(s) and begin the transition process.
Get acquired by a larger firm.
The key for this to be a realistic succession plan is to have a practice that appeals to a larger firm. This option is probably best if you have a high-end boutique practice. Larger firms may not be interested in acquiring a general practice small firm.
We just want to plant the idea that as a small law firm owner, having a succession plan in place should be a priority. It is wise to think about these issues several years before your retirement. However, if the time is coming, and you have not planned, it is not too late. We have handled each of these situations. Let’s set up a call to help you plan your future. Don’t just think about succession planning for your small law firm, start to plan for it.