Andrew Maloney writes for law.com on why mergers may be taking longer than ever:
"While some law firm merger talks are expected to heat up during an economic downturn, the sea change in the legal market over the last two years will make cementing combinations a challenge.
Some industry analysts believe law firm mergers are taking longer to solidify, as lawyers return to the office and desire to get everyone in the same room now. And with strong financial performances in 2021, some firms are seeking larger, more intricate deals to begin with. For others, windfall profits may have created some complacency."
We have been hearing similar themes from managing partners. Many feel the crunch of the market — consolidation, the need for increased bandwidth in many areas, associate retention problems, competitors growing quickly. But many have also just had their best two years ever and are in a strong place financially. Small firms love autonomy — this is why they exist — and so why should a firm go through the hassle of a merger when they are independent and flush with cash?
It's a good question. It's also a question that has a flip-side, which is this: when is a better time to consider a merger than when you've had your best two years ever and are flush with cash? The answer, of course, is that there is no better time. When you are the prettiest girl at the dance, you have your choice of partners.
Getting 30, 50, or 100 lawyers to agree about anything is near impossible, so managing partners and executive committees have their work cut out for them. But firms with a long-term vision may be able to capitalize now on an opportunity that might not be available at the end of a recession.
If you'd like to discuss different ways to grow your firm, including a merger, please reach out to [email protected].