This month we’re celebrating our Merger Anniversary and reflecting on the past year. We’re privileged to serve entrepreneurs who are considering merging their own companies and thought this may shed some light by talking about our own experience and update you on our progress.
The merger of Doida Law Group and Crow Legal was much more than a business decision. It was about meeting the needs of our growing clientele. Plus, the combination of our two firms has allowed us to serve the community even better than before. Here are our biggest takeaways from the merger. First, a statement from Stan and Trevor:
“We still have much to do and continue to set goals for ourselves and our team. As exciting as it was to merge our firms last year, Year 2 is already shaping up to be another extraordinary year. Our goal is to continue to knock our clients’ socks off with excellent legal counsel that helps take their business to another level.”
What are the highlights of the Doida Crow Legal merger for each of you?
Stan: We created a bigger platform to take on more clients, bigger deals, and more sophisticated work. We are also very aligned with similar visions and values, so merging together truly amplifies and increases the probability of achieving those visions and goals. The combined team can handle bigger deals and operate more efficiently. We’ve effectively taken the best parts of each firm and melded them together to establish a proven process for doing M&A deals and other corporate transactions. We went through a unique process of independent vision analysis and confirmed that they were truly aligned. The fit was critical to our merger, so we were very deliberate in confirming our processes.
Trevor: It was a full year of talking about core values and our vision for the future. After determining that we had vision alignment, it did not take long to conclude that a combined firm would be much stronger than each firm alone.
What are the biggest challenges you faced over the past year?
Stan: To me, the biggest challenges were sorting out the people and processes. Transparency among partners is crucial and it requires sticking to the plan, which was to uniformly create processes. It would have been easy for Trevor and me to silo our processes and projects, but then in the end it would have felt like people were going every which way. Sticking to our core values and making sure we communicated that to the team was crucial. Solving that short-term problem gave us long-term benefits.
Trevor: Communication. Communicating to both teams about changes, and that we didn’t have all the answers right away but we were committed to working through it. Instilling confidence within the team was very important.
Why do some mergers fail? What did you do differently?
Stan: I think we did our due diligence upfront and differently than a lot of people do. We focused on vision and core value alignment before we explored the merger further. We also spent a lot of time (a few months) doing that to determine if it was the right fit before the business deal was hammered out. You might look at the deal on paper and think it’s going to be a good one based on just the numbers, but there’s a lot more to consider.
Trevor: For service businesses like ours, it is a lack of an aligned vision for the future. This is the biggest puzzle piece, and after that, everything else falls into place. Our organizational chart work was important. Some companies don’t provide a clear direction throughout a merger. Having everyone’s seat set in the beginning is helpful because there might be a power struggle with overlapping responsibilities.
What do you think are the key factors to integrating a new team?
Stan: Good communication of core values and vision. Transparency, quarterly feedback, and daily team huddles make sure everyone is on the same page.
Trevor: Allowing everyone a voice and giving them opportunities to raise issues. Having an open-door policy opens up the issues and lets everyone bring them to the table. Offer a forum for the team to bring issues up. Don’t silo your issues, and create a good training program making sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.
What’s your biggest takeaway from the merger, good or bad?
Stan: No matter how well the principles of two company’s visions are aligned, integrating and melding culture, people, and processes is tough. It’s unrealistic to expect that there wouldn’t be any difficulties in the process.
Trevor: There’s always something to do and improve upon as a team. Creating a structured environment for identifying issues and solving them to consistently improve is what really sets us apart.
What are your goals from here on out?
Stan: To continue to create a unified culture. We’re still working towards that as we grow our team. Our intention is to become the go-to boutique corporate firm in the Front Range and generate more referrals from our clients who have great experiences.
Trevor: I want us to keep on with our mission to become the go-to corporate law firm in the Front Range.
What was your biggest surprise from the merger?
Stan: We outperformed what we thought we could do and surpassed our goals.
Trevor: How well our teams synergized was a big surprise. We love the energy of a bigger team trying to achieve the same goal.
What’s the most important aspect of executing a merger?
Stan: Aligned vision and doing your due diligence is paramount. Commit to executing the plan that you’ve agreed upon. There were times when we could have gone the ‘comfortable’ route and we didn’t.
You merged during COVID-19. Do you feel like Covid and remote work made it harder or easier to integrate two teams?
Stan: It showed us that having processes in place was incredibly valuable.
How do you keep integration strong after the merger?
Stan: Focus on culture and team building. We like to give ‘good work’ shout-outs as often as we can.
Trevor: Keeping culture health and core values top of mind as we hire new attorneys and staff.
Overall, what is the greatest achievement to come out of the merger?
Stan: Filling out and solidifying our leadership team.
Trevor: The ability to take on more interesting and impactful deals.
That’s it for our merger anniversary Q&A! We hope you got some insight into what our past year has been like, and possibly some useful info about our merger that you can use in your own ventures. Thank you for being a part of our team’s success and here’s to another great year!