I am the managing partner of a successful single-practice boutique with offices in two cities. With increasing frequency, we are approached by national and regional firms that want to merge with us. We are inclined to remain independent but are uncertain about whether we will be able to do so. Can a boutique survive and prosper through the current consolidation among law firms? If so, what should we do to ensure our continued success?

A: Nearly every boutique law firm in the country is struggling with this question. Managing partners of successful boutiques typically report several preliminary inquiries a week from other firms interested in mergers. Strong partners in boutiques report daily attempts by headhunters to lure them to national and global firms. Whether specialty-practice boutiques can survive is one of the most vexing questions in todays legal marketplace.