Selling your veterinary practice is, for most owners, a once-in-a-lifetime transaction that requires careful consideration and expert guidance. Selecting the right attorney to assist you is a crucial decision that can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
In this post, we’ll explore the importance of picking the right attorney and provide some tips on how to make the best choice.
Why is picking the right attorney important?
Selling your veterinary practice can involve complex legal procedures, negotiations, and agreements. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side ensures that you receive thoughtful guidance throughout the process. They can demystify the legal aspects, helping you understand and feel comfortable with the deal beyond its economic elements.
Attorney fees can add up quickly, making it essential to get the right advice and good value for your money. A competent attorney will protect your interests and ensure that you make informed decisions, maximizing the return on your investment.
Is using an attorney with veterinary expertise a must?
While retaining an attorney with veterinary expertise is a nice-to-have, it’s not an absolute necessity. However, there are distinct advantages to working with a lawyer experienced in veterinary practice sales. These attorneys understand the structures commonly employed in such transactions, which can make the legal process more efficient and cost-effective. They won’t waste your time and money educating themselves on a buyer’s legal structure.
Moreover, veterinary attorneys have a deep understanding of the deal terms that genuinely matter. They will prioritize protecting your interests in those areas, ensuring you’re well-represented and safeguarded throughout the sale.
It’s worth noting that attorneys serving the veterinary profession can be busy and may not be available when you need them. If you’re considering selling your practice, it’s advisable to start interviewing attorneys sooner rather than later.
If I am using a non-veterinary attorney, what should I look for?
Using a non-veterinary attorney is perfectly acceptable as long as they possess certain qualities. It’s more important to work with someone who will advocate for you and understands that your goal is to sell your practice. For instance, hiring an overly aggressive attorney may lead to higher legal fees and put your transaction at risk. Seek a lawyer who will help you achieve your objectives efficiently and effectively.
While veterinary practice sales differ from other medical professions, they also differ significantly from the sale of a local landscaping company or car wash business. Therefore, it’s essential to choose an attorney with experience in physician practice sales. Their familiarity with similar transactions will ensure they navigate the legal intricacies properly.
When considering a non-veterinary attorney, take the time to speak with their previous clients. Ask them about their experience working with the attorney in question. Did the attorney demonstrate pragmatism? Did they spend an excessive amount of time negotiating minor legal points? How effectively did they communicate with clients? Did they explain key legal issues in an understandable manner? Additionally, inquire about the attorney’s track record—how often do their deals fall apart, and why?
What if the group I’ve signed an LOI with is recommending a certain attorney?
If the group partnering with your practice recommends a specific attorney, it’s worth considering their suggestion, assuming you have a positive relationship with and trust the group. However, it’s crucial to conduct your due diligence. Speak with the recommended attorney, ask the same questions outlined above, and request references. Doing your homework ensures you’re making an informed decision that aligns with your needs and expectations.
It’s also encouraging if the group provides multiple recommendations, as it indicates they have successfully worked with several law firms. This demonstrates that they are not merely cherry-picking the easiest option but have a history of collaborating effectively with different legal teams.