When a lawyer wants to sell their law firm they have to find a buyer that is the right match, but what does finding your match mean? Is there an app for that?
I currently have my 86-acre farm for sale, and I really don’t care who buys it, as long as they just come and buy it. They can come from in-state, or out-of-state. They can be farmers or non-farmers, just as long as they give me a reasonable offer as soon- as possible. But is it different for a law firm? It really is.
There are several reasons why it’s different. The first, and likely most important, is that there will be a transition period where the seller and buyer are working together. That sometimes can be up to a year or more. Another thing I hear from my clients all the time is, “I don’t want just any buyer. I want someone who’s going to take care of my team and take care of my staff the way that I have. We’ve got to be able to coexist with each other for a while”.
But how do you know who your right fit is? First, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the type of sellers and buyers that you can find.
Types of sellers
When it comes to exiting a law firm, there are four main types of sellers that I have come across:
The Firehouse Seller: They want out of the heat as quickly as possible, grabbing whatever they can on the way out of the door.
Sentimental Seller: Every memory, every piece of furniture, and every piece of paper in the firm has value. This type of seller will wait as long as it takes to find the very best buyer and get their value out of it.
The Giver: They will almost give the practice away for undisclosed reasons, but they’ll tell you it’s because they just wanted it to go to a good person who will take care of the staff and the clients. They want a seller to keep the legacy going, but oftentimes there are other things going on in the background that they’re not overtly letting on.
The Coachable Seller: They will do anything to make the firm as desirable as possible for a buyer. They want to exit, but only if the firm, the buyer, and the terms are right.
To learn the types of buyers, and find the right match for your firm listen to our podcast: