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An estimated 2-minute read

Fox Mandal Little - A merger gone sour

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We have all learnt from various media reports about the recent turn of events with respect to the Fox Mandal - Little merger going sour. At the outset I wish to clarify that I am not part of the law firm and my views are based strictly on what I have gathered from the media.

The merger when it happened back in 2006 (if I remember correctly) was the most talked about merger in the legal fraternity. It was touted as one of the successful mergers in recent times. The merger also resulted in to the birth of FML or Fox Mandal Little, a brand, a force to reckon with in the legal field. Both the law firms were experts in their own right and the marriage between these two law firms were looked onto by some in the profession as a positive leap as far as mergers were considered in the legal profession.

Some lawyers were also of the view that this was a good precedent with other law firms soon to follow. However trouble began brewing with allegations and counter allegations of late after the so called honey moon period and the marriage between the two firms is already on the rocks with a “divorce petition” filed.

A merger between two law firms (or for any merger for that matter) is akin to a marriage.  It is not the coming together of two mere organizations but also the workforce comprising the respective organization.

Compatibility is a huge issue. If the workforce is not compatible, there is a high possibility of the merger breaking down. From what I have gathered from various reports is that the merger between Fox Mandal and Little was more of a live-in relationship than an actual merger in a real sense. There was a severe disconnect between the partners and employees were working under their respective seniors with no interaction with the other partners or vice versa. There were quarrels even when scheduling get togethers.

Again these are just media reports and we do not know what the truth is. However a crucial point to consider is that after a merger, one often gets to see a sense of animosity and superiority complex within the two organizations. It is therefore extremely important to consider the pros and cons prior to a merger.

In fact it is even more important that employees of the two firms proposing a merger should interact beforehand to gauge the comfort level and their degree of compatibility to avoid future complications. Partners of course can do their own interaction at a senior level on a “stand alone” basis.

It is known to us as to how FML marriage will end and whether we will get to see more surprises than what has already been exposed from the breakup.

However I am sure this merger which has been disastrous in some way will make partners contemplating a merger even more cautious.

However it is important that we continue with the trend for a more competitive legal market.

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