A survey of more than 100 law firms in the UK has revealed that nearly half are considering a merger or acquisition in the next year. It's all part of the drive to develop depth of knowledge to serve clients' increasing demands.
But law firms should be wary of thinking that a merger or acquisition is a quick and easy way of 'bolting on' additional expertise. Indeed, a previous survey by Smith & Williamson showed that 56% of merger discussions in recent years had ended in failure. A third had spent more than three months in negotiations before deciding to halt talks.
And the work is not done when the merger is agreed, as that's when the true challenge of integrating the two firms begin. The reality of people, IT, workspace and, of course, clients may not be as clear-cut as the merger blueprint.
If your firm is one of the 43%, ARK's useful book The Law Firm Merger: A Leader's Guide to Strategy and Realisation may be just what you need to make your merger one of the successful ones.
Just shy of half (43 per cent) of law firms are looking to acquire or merge with other businesses over the course of the next year, as they fend off increased competition from boutique offerings, figures out today have found. By comparison, when Smith & Williamson asked the same question last year in its annual survey of the legal sector, just 28 per cent said they were looking to pair up with another firm. With 59 per cent of the over 100 UK-based law firms surveyed this year reporting a rise in competitive pressure, Giles Murphy, head of professional practices at Smith & Williamson, noted many were carefully considering targeted moves to add to their portfolio of services and make them stand out in a crowded market place.