Selling a Law Practice at Fair Market Price

How to Determine Fair Market Price When Selling a Law Practice

Are you considering selling a law practice after years of building a successful practice but don’t know the fair market price? Learn how to evaluate its fair market price using discounted cash flow, asset value, and book value methods while utilizing professional valuation experts to get the best deal.

The Role of Goodwill in Selling a Law Practice

Selling a law practice is a significant milestone for any attorney, especially after dedicating years to build a successful practice with strong cash flow. It’s not just about handing over your clients and caseload; it’s about realizing the true value of your legal legacy. In this blog post, we will explore three essential methods for evaluating the fair market price of your law practice: discounted cash flow, asset value, and book value. We’ll also discuss the importance of professional valuation experts in ensuring you maximize the selling price of your law practice. Let’s dive into this crucial aspect of your legal career.

Before we delve into specific valuation methods, it’s crucial to understand the concept of goodwill in the context of selling a law practice. Goodwill refers to the intangible value associated with your practice, such as the reputation, client relationships, and the firm’s brand. Goodwill can significantly influence the final selling price. In some cases, it may even be the primary driver of the practice’s value.

Throughout the process of selling a law practice, always consider the role of goodwill, as it plays a central part in the evaluation methods we’re about to discuss.

Discounted Cash Flow Method

The discounted cash flow method is a popular approach to determine the fair market price of a law practice. It’s a forward-looking method that assesses the expected future cash flows generated by the practice. This method is particularly useful when goodwill and future income potential are significant contributors to the practice’s value.

Selling a Law Practice Using Discounted Cash Flow:

  • Calculate the expected future cash flows your practice will generate.
  • Determine a discount rate that accounts for the time value of money and the risk associated with the practice.
  • Discount the future cash flows to present value.
  • Sum these present values to arrive at the fair market price.

When selling a law practice, the discounted cash flow method acknowledges the potential for increased cash flow due to the continuation of your client relationships under new ownership. It’s a forward-thinking approach that captures the full worth of your practice.

Asset Value Method

The asset value method of valuing a law practice focuses on the tangible assets that make up your law practice, such as office space, equipment, and accounts receivable. This method is particularly relevant if your practice has a substantial physical presence or if you’re looking to liquidate your assets.

Selling a Law Practice Using Asset Value:

  • Identify all tangible assets within your practice.
  • Determine the fair market value of each asset.
  • Subtract any liabilities (debts or outstanding expenses) from the total asset value.
  • The resulting figure represents the fair market price based on asset value.

While the asset value method might not fully capture the value of your practice’s intangible assets (goodwill, client relationships, brand reputation), it provides a baseline price that can be useful in negotiations when selling a law practice.

Book Value Method of Selling a Law Practice

The book value method of valuing a law practice involves assessing the practice’s financial health based on its accounting records. This method is more conservative and may undervalue the practice if your assets have appreciated over the years. However, it provides a straightforward approach to determine the practice’s worth.

Selling a Law Practice Using Book Value:

  • Calculate the net book value by subtracting the total liabilities from the total assets as listed on the practice’s balance sheet.
  • The net book value provides a baseline price for selling the law practice based on historical financial records.

While the book value method might not account for the true value of goodwill, it serves as a starting point when discussing the sale of your practice.

The Role of Professional Valuation Experts

Navigating the process of selling a law practice can be complex, with multiple variables to consider. Utilizing the services of professional valuation experts is a wise decision to ensure you receive the highest possible price for your legal legacy.

Benefits of Professional Valuation Experts:

  • Experience: Valuation experts have the experience and knowledge to evaluate both tangible and intangible assets accurately.
  • Objective Assessment: They can provide an unbiased evaluation of your practice’s worth.
  • Maximized Value: Experts can help you identify areas where you can enhance the practice’s value before selling it.
  • Negotiation Assistance: Valuation experts can assist in negotiations, ensuring you get a fair deal.

Incorporating professional valuation experts into the process of selling a law practice is a strategic move to optimize the selling price and secure a deal that truly reflects the legacy you’ve built.


Selling a law practice is a significant life transition for any attorney. It’s essential to understand the various methods for evaluating the fair market price of your practice, including discounted cash flow, asset value, and book value. Keep in mind that the intangible value of goodwill, including your reputation, client relationships, and brand, can play a pivotal role in determining the overall value.

To ensure you maximize the selling price of your law practice, consider consulting professional valuation experts. Their expertise and experience can make a substantial difference in achieving the best possible outcome for the legal legacy you’ve worked so hard to build.

In the end, selling a law practice is not just about the financial transaction; it’s about passing the torch to the right successor and ensuring the continued success of the practice you’ve nurtured over the years. Learn more about selling a law practice and how to list a practice for sale for $49 at

October 18, 2023 2:57 pm

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