If you are a dentist, looking to buy or sell a dental practice, the first thing you need to do is assemble your legal team. You need them to advocate for your interests while protecting your rights. You need them to anticipate and address the various legal liabilities that lurk in the shadows.
What could go wrong, you ask? Well, a heck of a lot – like: staff not being on contract, the landlord/lease being brutal, the practice not being incorporated, the x-ray equipment never being approved, doing legal due diligence on the buyer/seller, and the sale proceeding as an asset or share sale when it should be the other way around! There are also lots of non-legal things that need to be addressed – like the equipment being in need of repair, the charts not being complete or accurate, the financials needing to be poured over, etc.
This is where a lawyer familiar with dental practices is worth their weight in gold. They understand the business of operating a dental practice. They shouldn’t just be paper pushers trying to get the deal done. They should invest in your success by educating you, protecting you, and helping you make/save the most money.
So here are the top 10 questions in my mind you might want to ask when canvassing a legal team to assist you:
- Are you only focused on helping dentists?
- How many years have you been doing this (exclusively for dentists)?
- How do you help educate dentists (e.g. continuing education for dentists, eBook, website, presentations, seminars, etc.)?
- How do you help protect dentists? What happens if you’re not around and I need you?
- How do you help dentists make the most / save the most money (e.g. will you help me find a buyer/seller)?
- Are you conflicted (have you ever represented the other party before)?
- Are you familiar with the various legal areas that impact a purchase/sale transaction for a dental practice (e.g. dental law specifically and, more generally: leases, real estate, bank financing, corporate/commercial law, employment law, associate agreements, Wills and estates, family law, etc.)?
- How much do you charge / how do you charge (i.e. is it hourly or based on a fixed-fee system)?
- When can you complete these tasks (what’s your timeline) and how quickly do you generally get back to people (responsiveness)?
- Do you have other dentists who have been your clients and what do they say about you (can I speak with them)?
So there’s my top 10 list. Make sure to do your research when hiring a legal team.