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There are a number of well-publicized studies by the leading accounting and consulting firms that have found 70 percent or more of corporate mergers failed to achieve their goals or even generate a return to shareholders. It isn’t surprising, then, to learn that law firm mergers have a similarly low success rate. But why? How do law firms go astray, and what can leaders learn from highly successful law firm mergers?

Many lawyers assume mergers fail primarily due to implementation problems, after the merger has taken place. While implementation issues are challenging and pervasive, the real problems are fundamental flaws with the deal itself, which get hidden by the traditional corporate merger negotiation and due diligence process. The following is a summary of the most common, but not commonly understood, problems in analyzing and structuring mergers of law firms.

1. The Business Case

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