Glasgow based accountancy firm Armstrong Watson has teamed up with seven other business consultancies across the UK to form the Association of Law Firm Merger Advisers (ALFMA).

The new association has been formed as a direct response to the level of change and challenge faced by the legal profession. The launch sees Armstrong Watson join up with Aaron & Partners, Ampersand Legal, Haddon Consult, Hazlewoods, Hedley Consulting, Howard Hackney LLP and Wilkinson Read as founder members.

ALFMA members believe that from the range of consultants and businesses who claim expertise in merger work, it has been very difficult for a firm to know who to trust. They claim to offer reassurance and a level of professionalism and responsibility, based on in-depth knowledge and proven experience. Services cover all aspects of mergers including overall strategy, the process from initial research to deal, valuations, negotiations, due diligence and the legal documentation.

Andrew Roberts of Ampersand Legal, chairman of ALFMA, explained: "We felt there was a real need to establish a kitemark style level of excellence that law firms could rely on when taking on this most important challenge. Solicitors are excellent at advising their clients, but are not always so good at looking after their own businesses. Finding the right solution for each practice takes skill and experience, and by using an ALFMA member a managing partner can be sure that they are dealing with an experienced and professional law firm merger expert."

Richard Gibson, Glasgow office lead partner of Armstrong Watson, added: "We have all got considerable expertise in law firm mergers and acquisitions, between us accounting for approximately 150 such transactions. This association provides a key UK wide network that allows our clients to have access to a larger pool of potential vendors/targets. It also allows for a 'one stop shop' of experts for all of the strategy, facilitation, valuation, taxation and legal documentation that collectively results in a smooth transaction."