Seven UK professional firms, which collectively have advised on some 150 law firm mergers, have formed an association claiming to 'bring a level of professionalism and responsibility' to the merger advice sector.
The Association of Law Firm Merger Advisers (ALFMA) has been founded by specialist law firm Aaron & Partners along with accountancy firms Armstrong Watson, Hazlewoods and Howard Hackney and consultancies Ampersand Legal, Haddon Consult and Hedley Consulting. The ALFMA said it had been formed as a ‘direct response to unprecedented change and challenge’ faced by the legal profession and a lack of easily recognisable turn-to expertise. A statement explained, ‘from small firms worried about succession or exit, to larger firms wanting to grow and attract quality staff, develop their client base or open in new locations, merger has never been a more important issue.’ The association believes although there is a wide range of consultants and businesses who claim expertise in merger work, it has been very difficult for a firm to know who to trust.
Andrew Roberts, director of Ampersand Legal and chair of ALFMA, said ‘solicitors are excellent at advising their clients, but are not always so good at looking after their own businesses. Finding the right solution for each practice takes skill and experience, and by using an ALFMA member a managing partner can be sure that they are dealing with an experienced and professional law firm merger expert.’ Andy Poole, legal sector partner at Armstrong Watson, explained ‘this association provides a key UK-wide network that allows our clients to have access to a larger pool of potential vendors/targets. It also allows for a “one-stop shop” of experts for all of the strategy, facilitation, valuation, taxation and legal documentation that collectively results in a smooth transaction.’