How to sell my law firm?

 You might be wondering:

– How much can you sell a law practice for? 

– How do I determine an asking price to sell my law firm? 

– How do I find potential buyers to sell my law practice?

– How to sell my law practice through a broker?  

 On the last question:  Use a broker when you only need a connection to a buyer (i.e. when selling real estate or stocks).  Instead, use an M&A advisor when selling your law practice because what you need is vastly more complex.  Details on that and more answers are ahead

Think Years, Not Months

 If you’re wondering how to sell a law firm and walk away after closing, it isn’t possible.

 Much of the value of a law practice is tied to its owners — to their expertise, reputation, and relationships.  In most successful sales, that value is transferred to a buyer over a multi-year transition during which the seller works 2 to 35 hours per week.  The seller should have a sales- or profit-sharing incentive to complete an effective transition.  Consequently, most law firms cannot simply be sold for just a fixed payment at closing.  This is especially true when selling a small law firm.  It applies to most law firms to varying degrees, and largely depending on firm size. Discover more on how to sell your law firm below.

Seller Beware: Protect Yourself

Because selling a law firm entails sharing sales or profit with a buyer you have just met, you need protection.  We recommend the following:

(1) List the adverse outcomes that can occur when you are trying to sell your law practice.  For each, design a resolution mechanism that protects your assets.

(2) List the possible disputes that can arise between you and your buyer after exiting a law firm.  For each, implement a binding procedure for resolving the dispute fairly and at a low cost, ideally without involving courts or other lawyers.

 Deep expertise in designing protection mechanisms matters.  (Hint: We are exceptional at it.)  Lawyers will draft the legal language that implements protections in a contract, but only a capable advisor can design protection mechanisms for an exit strategy for a law firm.  Proper protection design requires economics and finance expertise, not legal expertise.

Sell by Auction or Not?

You might be seeking exit strategies for law firms. Check the best law firms exit options below.

Did you know you can sell your law firm via an auction?  If you are like other lawyers and have a strong preference for orderliness, then an auction can be perfect for you.  

The first step in selling your law practice is selecting one of two sale mechanisms:

Option 1: Auction Mechanism

If you wonder “how do I sell my law practice for maximum price,” look here:

There are several differences between the auctions we see in movies and an auction mechanism for selling law practices.  Here are a couple examples that can be employed when selling a law practice:

(1) Bids will entail several numbers in addition to purchase price.  For example, the percent of the price paid through a multi-year seller note and your compensation during the transition period are two other numbers that could be included in a bid.

(2) The winning bidder will be selected based on a valuation formula that calculates how much each bid is worth to you.

(3) The bidders will not be aware of each other’s bids.

What are the benefits of selling my law firm via auction?  

(1) If we have at least two bidders, then an auction will generate more value for you than an ad hoc mechanism.  This is how to sell a law practice for maximal price.

(2) With this law firm exit strategy, the business is more likely to end up in the hands of the right person.

(3) The high amount of structure required for an auction forces everyone to produce and act upon a high degree of clarity early in the process.  This reduces the likelihood of the deal falling through late in the process.

What are the disadvantages if I want to sell my law firm via auction?

(1) There is somewhat more work to do upfront when selling your law practice with this profitable exit strategy: 

(a) Closing documents need to be generated upfront rather than late in the process.  (b) We need to decide upfront on precisely how you would value different possible deal structures.

(2) You have less flexibility.  Once you have executed an auction agreement with the prospective acquirers, you cannot back out of it.

Option 2: Ad Hoc Mechanism

If you’re thinking, “I want to sell my law practice the old fashioned way, and an auction sounds too complex,” look here:

In this mechanism, we negotiate with each prospective buyer one-on-one.  If you like what someone offers, you move forward with them.  If you are uncertain about their offer, we ask them to wait until we have more offers. 

What are the benefits of selling my law practice via ad hoc mechanism?  

(1) Less work is required before engaging prospective buyers.

(2) You commit practically nothing to the acquirer until final closing documents are signed, which is relatively late in the process.  This implies that you are free to change your mind until then.

What are the disadvantages if I sell my law firm this way?

(1) If you ask a prospective buyer to wait until you have fielded more offers, you risk losing them because they might find another opportunity.

(2) The best prospective buyer to sell your law firm might drive a hard bargain, offering too little.  A less qualified prospective buyer might not drive such a hard bargain.  As a result, you might go forward with the less qualified buyer.  It is important that we find the best buyer because everyone wins when that is the case.

 3) Because this is a less structured process, with less agreed upon upfront, it is more likely that the deal will fall apart after a non-binding offer is accepted.  This can result in significant lost time, money, and energy during the selling of law firms.

Optimal Deal Structure

If an owner commanded, “Sell my immigration law firm for the highest possible price!” then I would say, “Be careful what you wish for.  You probably wouldn’t sell at a price of $10 million paid over 100 years with a 0.1% interest rate.”

The correct mandate is, “Sell my law business under a deal structure that maximizes the net present value of my future cash flows, considering expected and worst case scenarios, and that allows me to exit comfortably on my realistic timeline.”

Deal structure is the set of terms in your sale contract that affect the timing, contingencies, and amount of payments you receive.

In the legal industry, successful firms have long-term clients for which they perform annual services related to audits, taxes, and financial reporting.  It can be sensible for some of your payment to be tied to the retention of these long-term clients.

If you are open to a broader array of deal terms, you will have a larger pool of prospective acquirers.  That translates to extracting more value out of your firm.  For example, if a handful of law clients comprise a large portion of your services revenue, then it will be difficult to attract buyers without tying part of your sale price to the retention of those big clients.

How much do law firms sell for?

The deal structure is equally as important as the purchase price.  If you want to sell your law firm, you can value it in two ways:

(1) Discounted cash flow method.  We will analyze your currently client relationships and marketing mechanisms.  Based on that, we will project your revenue in future years under a best case, worst case, and expected case scenario.  We will project your costs and expenses given their current levels.  This will allow us to project your firm’s operating cash flows under each scenario.  We will then sum up the values of each future year’s operating cash flow, discounting it by dividing it by (1+r)^number of years in the future.  We will determine the value of r by analyzing the volatility of your historic cash flows relative to historic stock market performance.

(2) Comparables method We have data on past sales of law firms.  Using comparable sales data, we will infer the value of your firm.  For example, we know that the median law firm sold for 1.41 times seller’s discretionary earnings.  That is low.  Using the optimal deal structure and selling mechanism, we can achieve a higher valuation than that.

What are the steps to sell my law firm?

 Several of these steps occur in parallel:

(1) Consultation.  If you contact us at or 407-256-1482, we will provide more information tailored to your law practice regarding everything on this page.  From this conversation, you will understand your options.

(2) Valuation.  We will conduct a valuation by the above methods.  If you wish to sell your law firm via an auction mechanism, we will develop a model enabling us to value every acceptable deal structure.

(3) Materials Preparation.  We will prepare a 50-page memorandum, 2-pager, and brief messaging that we will use to convey the opportunity of buying your law business.  If you wish to sell via auction, we will work with our economical attorney or yours to develop the auction and closing documents.

(4) Targeting.  We will determine the criteria for the companies and individuals that would be suitable acquirers of your law practice.  Criteria can involve size, geography, specialty, years of experience, and more.

(5) Outreach We will contact buyers in several different ways, including contacting some of the 28,000 buyers in our network, sending direct messages to other individuals and companies who meet your criteria, and online advertisement on business for sale websites and professional job boards.  We will only introduce you to the most qualified prospects.

(6) Negotiation.  We receive offers, improve them, and work to pick the best one.  If we are using an auction, negotiation is automatic.

(7) Due Diligence and Closing.  The winning bidder conducts due diligence on your law practice.  If we are using an ad hoc mechanism, then in parallel their attorney produces closing documents.  Once all of that is concluded, the deal is closed.

(8) Post-Closing We will be available to help make your business sale successful.  We can create accounting dashboards that calculate the payments you are owed.  We are also available to act as administrators in any dispute resolution process described under the “Seller Beware: Protect Yourself” section.

Examples of law firm listings

For you to get a sense of what is on the market, here are some recent listings:

Asking Price: $3,800,000
Cash Flow: $1,000,000
Price Multiple: 3.8x
Revenue: $4,600,000
Employees: 22
This Phoenix-area business law firm represents a strategic purchase for a financial service firm buyer looking to expand into additional services and increase revenue. Due to a very recent rules change by the Arizona Supreme Court; this state will be the first to permit non-attorneys to own law firms.

Asking Price: $1,900,000
Cash Flow: $619,148
Price Multiple: 3.1x
Revenue: $2,218,090
Employees: 14
Central Florida Law Firm for sale. This law firm specializes in Tax, Bankruptcy, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Foreclosure and loan modification. The operation has four attorneys, not including the seller, and a total staff of 14 people. Clients come from referrals, general marketing, web presence, TV, Radio, and Direct mail. The Seller may stay on as an “Of Counsel” and rainmaking capacity.

Asking Price: $300,000
Cash Flow: $400,000
Price Multiple: 0.8x
Revenue: $600,000
Employees: 1
Incredible law firm acquisition opportunity in New York focusing exclusively on removal, asylum and family-based immigration law. With outstanding revenues and cash flows to owner, growing case inventory, and immense growth opportunity this is a can’t miss opportunity. In addition, this already amazing opportunity is priced to sell with a focus on finding the right successor.

Asking Price: $1,200,000
Cash Flow: $840,000
Price Multiple: 1.4x
Revenue: $1,360,000
Employees: 5
Outstanding and rare opportunity to acquire tremendous market share and proven Personal Injury firm model in a beautiful coastal North Carolina marketplace. With its incredible marketing platforms, consistent lead generation, brand awareness and business tested systems, this firm has been built to provide exceptional legal services while also maximizing owner’s cash flows.

Asking Price: $650,000
Cash Flow: $275,000
Price Multiple: 2.4x
Revenue: $650,000
Employees: 3
Profitable New Jersey law firm focusing on Estate Law in an affluent community. The firm is staple in its community with steadily growing demand and revenues. Their scope of work includes Estate Planning, Trusts, Estate Administration, Probate, as well as Tax and Medicaid.

Asking Price: N/A
Cash Flow: $465,000
Price Multiple: N/A
Revenue: $1,250,000
Employees: 5
Highly reputable firm in Texas with deeply rooted connections in the community and tremendous cash flows. With roots dating back to 1950s the firm has cultivated a solid reputation with great reviews, tremendous client satisfaction and brand recognition which continues to build today from client referrals and trustworthiness.

Asking Price: $60,000
Cash Flow: $350,000
Price Multiple: 0.2x
Revenue: $500,000
Employees: 4
This highly-skilled, longtime law firm specializes in International Child Abduction and General Litigation. This firm would be ideal for that young lawyer, just coming out of law school, or an add-on to another law firm, looking to expand their practice. The lifestyle is fantastic in New Mexico- low cost of living, located near a ski town with great weather. The area also provides many other options for a single lawyer or family. The benefits of buying this business are a very low down payment and many long-time clients. It’s a well-known law firm in the area, and is, strategically, in a great area for additional business, as it sits on a main street, with thousands of cars seeing its sign, everyday.

Asking Price: $395,000
Cash Flow: $224,920
Price Multiple: 1.8x
Revenue: $470,000
Employees: 3
Law firm with consistent clients, reoccurring revenue, and repeat compliance work monthly, quarterly, and annually! This is a unique opportunity to acquire a profitable and growing benefit funds & labor compliance law firm. The firm has an excellent industry reputation and long-term client relationships. The firm has experienced high revenue growth due to the high-level of respect it has within the industry, quality of service & work product, and a robust marketing strategy.

Asking Price: $1,800,000
Cash Flow: $1,174,396
Price Multiple: 1.5x
Revenue: N/A
Employees: 0
Very profitable and high-margin, well established immigration and criminal defense law firm in Denver Colorado. The firm has an outstanding reputation with a well established referral base. Practice concentrates on undocumented immigrants in removal proceedings, applications with USCIS and criminal problems.

Asking Price: $995,000
Cash Flow: $317,323
Price Multiple: 3.1x
Revenue: $922,526
Employees: 6
One of South Florida’s most established and well respected legal Process Service firms. “Process” a procedure by which a party to a lawsuit gives an appropriate notice of initial legal action to another party (such as a defendant), court, or administrative body. Summons, subpoenas, and other legal notices. Regular accounts include most of the top FL law firms.

Asking Price: $1,300,000
Cash Flow: N/A
Price Multiple: N/A
Revenue: $940,779
Employees: 7
Private Practice Transitions is assisting a client, based in King County, with the sale of a highly profitable private law practice. The owner has built a firm with a stellar reputation within the community and desires to sell the business as a turn-key operation. In 2019, the Practice brought in over $940,000 in gross receipts. The practice/case breakdown by revenue is 85% Cannabis Business Counsel and 15% Personal Injury.

Asking Price: $2,432,000
Cash Flow: $846,522
Price Multiple: 2.9x
Revenue: $2,543,886
Employees: 7
Well-established patent practice located throughout the UK with a high-end client base and excellent reputation.

Asking Price: $390,000
Cash Flow: N/A
Price Multiple: N/A
Revenue: N/A
Employees: 0
Income producing Legal Firm Offices for sale. There are four office suites included in this purchase. Suite # 16 is on the ground floor and Suites 13, 14, & 15 are second floor offices. This location is perfect for small law firms and any other service business. It is located in Downtown Sarasota on the Corner of Washington Blvd and Main Street, and very close to the Sarasota County court house.

Asking Price: $500,000
Cash Flow: $225,000
Price Multiple: 2.2x
Revenue: $750,000
Employees: 0
Reputable firm in North Carolina with strong connections in the community and roots dating back to 1970’s the firm has cultivated a solid reputation with great reviews, tremendous client satisfaction and brand recognition which continues to build today from client referrals and trustworthiness for the individuals and business owners’ legal representation.

We make selling law practices easy and lucrative

At Next Bridge Advisors, we sell law firms and other professional services firms anywhere in the United States.

Having been established for 13 years, we have built a network of 28,000 buyers and a unique combination of expertise in the finance, marketing, structuring, and dispute prevention aspects of business sales.  

Email us at or  learn how to maximize your earnings from selling an accountancy practice.