There are a number of questions that you should ask yourself and consider when embarking on buying or selling a medical or dental practice. There are likely hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, at stake depending on the size of the practice, and the attorney that you choose to represent you plays a major role in the success of your transition in or out of a practice.
The ADA Center for Professional Success has issued an article titled “A Dentist Guide to Selecting A Lawyer” that provides excellent guidance on choosing the right attorney. As part of this article, the ADA lists some questions that you should ask your attorney to see whether they have the required knowledge and experience in handling these types of matters and to see if the lawyer is the right fit for you; these questions are:
“(a) Are you experienced in this kind of matter?
(b) Will you be the lawyer handling this matter, or will an associate be handling this?
(c) How long do you estimate it will take to complete this matter?
(d) How much do you estimate your services will cost me?
(e) What is your fee structure?”
These are all valid questions to ask, but the article further emphasizes that you should also consider the attorney’s reputation and communications practices with their clients. Please keep these considerations in mind because transactional attorneys that handle buying and selling run-of-the-mill businesses do not deal with issues that are specific to buying or selling of medical and dental practices and they are not as adept in healthcare transactions as an attorney that is experienced in this field.
Whether you are interested in buying or selling a practice, I highly recommend that you contact an attorney even before contacting a broker or an agent. First, as a seller, you will be entering into a legally binding contract with the broker and you should have legal advice before signing the broker’s contract. Also, it is common that the buyer of a practice will informally discuss some parts of the contemplated transaction and tacitly accept terms and conditions without knowing that those terms could have far reaching consequences both financially and legally. Even if the terms do not become legally binding, they create expectations in the other party that become difficult to overcome in the course of negotiations.
Feel free to contact me (301-309-9002; firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are contemplating buying or selling a medical or dental practice and I am happy to answer all of your questions and then some so you can decide whether I am the right attorney to represent you in one of the biggest transactions of your professional life.