Mergers and Acquisitions

Growing Strategically By Merger and Acquisition

There is a reason why law firms considering a merger or acquisition turn to Zeughauser Group for advice. We are recognized for our involvement in many of the most successful and historic law firm combinations of the past decade, for our in-depth knowledge of the marketplace, and for the discretion and confidentiality we bring to our work.

As advisors, we tailor our role to the needs of our client(s) and to each particular deal. At the outset of combination discussions, we counsel law firms on whether a merger or acquisition is the strategy that best aligns with their long-term vision. Once a firm decides to pursue a combination, we help it identify and reach out to the best partner and, when the transaction is completed, to integrate the merger and position the new firm as a market leader.

Our merger and acquisition work includes advising firms seeking to combine with others of similar size and performance, firms that want to acquire smaller firms, and firms looking to be acquired by larger firms. Mergers and acquisitions can help a law firm broaden particular practice areas; deepen the bench strength of a specific client team; or expand the firm's capabilities in targeted industry or geographic sectors.

Our Expertise

Zeughauser Group partners have acquired a wealth of merger and acquisition experience over many years as strategic growth consultants to preeminent law firms. We have advised firm leadership in all aspects of merger and acquisition work, including developing strategy, building internal consensus for the strategy, analyzing and prioritizing targets and suitors, and facilitating discussions between them. We have served as counsel to the deal as well as independent counsel to both targets and suitors.

Our Approach

Some law firms seek our counsel as to the advisability and feasibility of a combination at the vision- and value proposition-building stage; others when they are further along and want to discuss specific merger options; and others still to see them all the way through the merger integration process. Our goal in every merger is to maximize the value of each firm's practice strengths, culture, brand equity, and marketplace position.

Merger and acquisition initiatives are sensitive, and we respect our clients' need for confidentiality. We exercise the greatest discretion in all of our dealings inside and outside the firm. We also understand that our role includes fostering partner buy-in to proposed combinations.

Our Process

We customize our approach to each firm's needs; however, our work often includes the following steps:

  • Collecting relevant information.  We interview the formal and informal leaders of the firm and request relevant financial data and other information about the firm to learn about its aspirations, practices, governance, compensation system, work ethic, and other aspects of the firm.
  • Creating a profile of a successful combination partner.  We analyze the information we acquire to create a profile of a successful combination partner.
  • Researching potential firms.  We thoroughly research the relevant markets to identify firms that fit the profile we have created and prepare profiles of candidate firms. 
  • Prioritizing a candidate list and establishing a communications protocol.  We review the profiles and related data with the firm to create a prioritized list of candidates and decide who will contact them.
  • Facilitating information exchange.  Once a candidate expresses interest, we facilitate a process that includes an exchange and evaluation of data about each firm.
  • If the firms decide to proceed with discussions, we design and facilitate a process for discussions between the firms and work with them to:
    • agree on the terms and conditions of the combination and memorialize the agreement in writing; 
    • articulate a persuasive case for the merger that can be presented to the firms' partners prior to their respective votes;
    • build consensus for approval of the merger by each firm's partners; and
    • define a post-merger plan for the combined firm, which includes a vision and a strategy for the combined entity that addresses expansion of client relationships, brand enhancement and positioning strategy, and media relations.

Contact Information

For more information, contact merger@consultzg.com.