Whether you’re a new attorney just starting your career or a seasoned professional who’s ready to go out on your own, starting a new law firm can be a rewarding path. There are many things to keep in mind when starting a new business and a good plan can help you accelerate your way to success.
We’ve compiled eight tips to help you get your new law firm off to the best start possible.
Talk to fellow lawyers who’ve started their own firms
Gather insight from other people that have blazed this path before. Their advice can help you learn from their past mistakes. You can gain valuable information that will help you steer clear from potential problems.
Start as a lean operation
One of the best things about starting your own law practice is that there is virtually no overhead. All you really need is a computer, a phone, and a suit. When you’re starting out, pass on the temptation to invest in a swanky office space and instead only spend money that will help you generate revenue.
Focus your practice on a specific kind of law
While many lawyers succeed as general practitioners, you may want to consider going for a more targeted market and choose a specialty, such as personal injury, family law, or probate law. This will help you develop both an expertise and a reputation for being knowledgeable and successful in a specific niche, which can increase demand for your services.
Embrace your past employers
It is not uncommon for lawyers to leave their existing job at a firm and start their own. It’s important to properly transition from your current job to your new one, being sure to wrap up cases you were working on or pass them on to someone else. Also, you want to leave on good terms – taking business with you from your current firm will likely leave a bad impression. One of the best referral sources of business could be the firm that you are leaving.
It may take some time to get a solid base of clients and actually start making money. Are you prepared if you don’t make any profit for the first 6 months or so? Be sure to have some money saved up to support you and your family during this time and enough to cover contingencies if they arise. This is a good time to cut your own personal expenses where you can and stick to a budget.
Build a brand
Your brand is more than just your firm’s name or logo, it is also how you want your firm to be perceived in the marketplace. Make sure you, your staff, and your potential clients understand who you are and what sets you apart.
Create an online presence
Today, people expect that any reputable business will have a website. Purchase a domain name and develop a professional-looking website that at least contains information about who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch. Ensure that your website is easily accessible across different devices (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop) and different browsers. Also, create domain-specific email addresses for you and your employees – using Gmail or other free accounts can be risky because your firm does not own those platforms. Consider creating a professional presence on social media as well, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and use the platforms to market your business and connect with potential clients.
Hire a bookkeeper to manage finances
While you might not need help managing your finances from day one, as your business grows it makes sense to hire someone to handle the books. This will allow you to focus on doing what you do best. You will also need a financial institution you can trust, with specialized knowledge in the legal industry.
Getting your new law firm off the ground and turning it into a successful profitable business will be hard work, but it can really pay off. Do your research, put some thought and planning into it, and partner with people who share your drive and passion.