There are a variety of ways to find buyers. Some attorneys try to do it on their own. From a DIY perspective, usually the best ways to get the word out that you’re looking for a buyer are through networking and advertising.
Others who don’t want to take the time and effort to find buyers on their own rely on consultants and brokers. Besides saving time, using outside experts provides other advantages from the DIY method. They include:
Working with an outside expert also allows you to maintain confidentiality. Some lawyers prefer to remain anonymous. Do you want the entire legal community to know about your planned retirement?
Finding an outside consultant is not all that different than finding a lawyer. The best ways are through referral and the internet.
A word of caution: Be wary of retaining a consultant or broker who is not familiar with the legal industry. Even those with experience assisting other professional service-type firms—such as accountants, doctors and dentists—usually do not understand that law practices are different and fail to grasp the nuances of a law practice.
Many times, the best candidates for sellers are going to be competitors who want to expand either their existing practice or expand into a new practice area or geographic area. The advantage of selling to a competitor is that, more often than not, the competitor is not a complete stranger. You either know them personally or by reputation.
Just like clients hire lawyers who they “like and trust,” it is a good idea for you to similarly find a buyer who you “like and trust.”