How to Start Your Own Law Firm the Right Way
There are over 1.3 million licensed lawyers in the United States today. While many works with larger law firms, starting a law firm is a common practice in the industry.
If you’re looking to become one of the best law firms in your area, there are a few things you should know before starting.
But what are those things? What are the crucial factors to starting your own law firm?
That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out the most important factors when figuring out how to start your own law firm.
So Should You Open a Law Firm?
It goes without saying that everyone’s living situations are not the same.
In other words, things like finances and other general life events can determine whether opening a law firm is the right move. It’s certainly possible to start a law practice on a limited budget, as we’ll discuss later.
However, if there are family conflicts or other non-money-related matters, it might be best to take care of those things before diving into your own practice. You certainly don’t have to put all your chips in at once.
As such, it’s crucial that you have your life in order when you open a law firm. Take a look at your monthly expenses, expect the worst in terms of having low income, and evaluate whether you can really take the risk.
If you think you’re good to go, take a look at your assets to see if they can withstand a low-income lifestyle. How’s the state of your car? Are you okay with taking little to no vacations throughout the year?
Those with a job prior to opening a law firm should look to save up as much as possible. If you think your personal finances and life are in order, it’s time to figure out how to start your own law firm.
Checklist for Starting Your Law Firm
Opening a law firm can be a complicated process, which means you should try and look at everything on a step-by-step basis. Here are some of the key steps you should take:
Decide on Organizational Structure
Choosing your organizational structure will depend on whether you want partners or not. If your plan is to go on your own, that’s also completely valid.
However, you’ll have to decide on this from the outset. Creating a partnership or a multi-member professional corporation is quite different from becoming a solo practitioner.
Develop a (Business) Plan
While the actually lawyering part of your law firm is the most important part, you have to remember that your firm needs to churn a profit. Just as a business plan is crucial for a retail store, you need to have a solid strategy for your firm.
Outlining the advantage your firm will have over the competition helps you plan your future. Additionally, your finances will be more stable and you can form a strong financing strategy.
All of this helps you see a clearer vision of what your firm will look like in the coming years. Get you and your partners together and create an executive summary to gather the details.
Find Your Area
You might already have this settled before you even think about starting a firm, but knowing your area of practice is crucial if you want to elevate your business plan.
This means assessing your strengths and weaknesses to pinpoint exactly where you think your advantages lie. Finding your law niche also helps narrow down a client base, leading to better marketing strategies.
You typically won’t find many lawyers providing generic practices these days. The more you specify your practice, the easier it’ll be for your clients to find you.
Choose Name and Location
Now that you know your area of expertise and who you’re working with, it’s time to decide what people should know you as.
You can go in a few different directions here. Naming it after yourself or your partners’ names isn’t a bad way to go. You can also make a creative name for your practice.
Many combine their last names to form a brand name, or just pick another word to represent their practice altogether. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s not confusing.
There are also rules associated with naming. For example, you can’t put “Associates” in your name if you don’t have any associates. Similarly, don’t put “Group” in the name if you’re a sole proprietor of your practice.
After narrowing down on a name, it’s best to choose a prime location for your practice. Where do your clients live? Is it best to rent an office near them?
This is where things like rent costs and office space come into play. Make sure you consult your partners and budget during this stage.
Get the Right Equipment
Once you’ve for your office, you’re going to need some equipment regardless of how many staff you have on hand. Furniture, desks, stationery, and printers are all essential to a smooth law practice.
You’re also going to need tech support one way or another. IT services for law firms are crucial in the digital age, as your clients are more than likely going to reach out to you electronically.
As you find your footing as an independent law firm, you’re going to need a strong network to build your clientele. Create a strategy to build your referrals to get the word out to potential clients.
If you feel inexperienced, you can even join a local law association to help build networks. You’ll likely be put on a listserv to reach out to potential mentors and resources.
Understand How to Start Your Own Law Firm Today
Navigating the world of independent law firms can be tricky. However, you don’t have to fumble in the dark when figuring out how to start your own law firm.
Use this guide to narrow down a solid strategy for you or your partners. For more informative articles on technology, law, and other topics, check out the rest of our site!