Shouldn’t a law firm talk to its clients before agreeing to merge with another firm?


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The results of an interesting survey (looking at UK law firm merger activity) of 102 of the UK’s top 200 law firms by legal communications specialists Byfield Consultancy and partnership law experts at Fox Williams is being reported in the UK press overnight.

The headlines that appear to be grabbing the most attention from the survey results are that:

“Almost half of all non-merged UK firms would consider a tie-up over the next two years”

and that:

“As many as 95 per cent of managing partners expect their firms to merge within the next decade”.

Interesting as these numbers are, what grabbed my attention was the surprising – to me at least – fact that only 43 per cent of all merged firms revealed that they “investigated feedback from clients” prior to merging with the other law firm.

When you then take on board that “81 per cent of merged firms cited growth as a reason for joining forces” with their merger partner, doesn’t it seem a little odd that less than half would then discuss whether or not there was any real growth prospect in the merger with their clients and their merger partner’s clients (including any joint clients) prior to merging?

Little wonder, maybe, then that only:

“43 per cent of firms that have merged since 2010 believe that the move was a success”.

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