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Valuing Your Solo or Small Firm Practice: A Cornerstone of Your Succession Plan

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: December 10, 2019
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• Valuing Your Practice
• Succession Planning
• Model Rule 1.17 - Sale of a Law Practice
• Four Valuations Methods
        - Asset Valuation
        - Gross Revenue Valuation
        - Comparable Sales of Similar Law Firms
        - Goodwill Valuation
• The Limitations
• Pointers and Strategies
• Maintenance Programs
• Best Case Scenario

Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Recorded: December 10, 2019


Many solo and small firm lawyers leave real value on the table when they close out their practices, in addition to being required to meet Model Rule 1.17, which allows you to sell your practice including good will if certain conditions are satisfied. A comprehensive valuation is one of the cornerstones of the exit planning process. Without a valuation, you will be unable to plan for retirement, do comprehensive tax planning, formulate a good estate plan or understand the full extent of various exit options. A business valuation impacts virtually every component of the exit planning process.

While law firm owners would like a simple approach to establishing a value for their firms, such an approach does not exist. If you are planning on transferring your ownership interests within a year or two, you should conduct an extensive evaluation process. If you are three to five years away from transferring your ownership interests, a rough estimate should suffice for planning purposes and you should update this estimate annually. There are standard practices for valuation methods and an understanding of these approaches can help you understand the process.

This program was recorded on December 10th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Deian McBryde

Founding Attorney
McBryde Law LLC

Deian McBryde is a family and general practice attorney, mediator, and family law settlement facilitator.

Before becoming an attorney, Deian worked in business, employee development, technology, and the arts. He owned Nob Hill Yoga and Teaching School, advised large organizations through major operational and cultural transformations as a change management consultant, was an executive for a life-health insurance company, and supervised on-site adult and youth learning programs for Apple Retail in Albuquerque.

Deian has distinguished himself as an advocate for small firm practitioners as a board member of the State Bar of New Mexico Solo and Small Firm Section (SSF) and council member of the American Bar Association's Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division (GPSolo). ?

He promotes attorneys and law students with prior careers through his membership on the Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession and participation in national programs and webinars. To benefit the University of New Mexico School of Law, Mr. McBryde created the first scholarship specifically for law students with prior lengthy careers or homemaking experience. ?

Mr. McBryde is a US Air Force veteran (peacetime), and a recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. A native of Albuquerque's South Valley, Mr. McBryde volunteers at legal clinics to answer legal questions for families and veterans with limited resources, and in state court to facilitate solutions for self-represented parties in domestic relations litigation.

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Gary Bauer

Professor of Law
Wester Michigan University Cooley Law School

Professor Bauer joined the full-time faculty at Cooley in 1998 as an Assistant Professor. Before that, in 1997, he was hired as a Visiting Professor supervising clinical students at Sixty Plus, Inc., Elderlaw Clinic.

Professor Bauer practiced law as a criminal defense attorney for several years before being hired as the clinic's Litigation Director, serving in that position 1993-1996.

Prior to law school, Professor Bauer served in the U.S. Air Force as a Captain and navigator-bombardier on B-52's and KC-135's. After leaving the Air Force, Professor Bauer was employed as a Regional Sales Manager Mitsui, U.S.A., representing its interests in establishing retail outlets for its diesel powered equipment.

Professor Bauer finished first in the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition while attending law school. Also, while a clinical student, he successfully appealed an administrative order to the Michigan Court of Appeals which remanded the matter back to the Circuit Court for an error of law.

Professor Bauer has taught Wills, Trusts and Estates, environmental law and general practice externs, and he currently teaches several clinical courses in the Sixty Plus, Inc., Elderlaw Clinic.

He is chair, General Practice Concentration, Secretary and Council Member, Law Practice Management Section of State Bar of Michigan.

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