There are more than 457,000 law firms currently in operation in the United States. Are you considering opening another one and adding to this group?
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been practicing law for several years and want to venture out on your own or if you’re fresh out of law school and would rather work for yourself than under someone else.
Either way, opening a law firm is hard work. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, though.
Read on for some helpful tips on how to start a law firm of your own.
Should You Start Your Own Law Firm?
Starting a law firm is a big undertaking, and not everyone who tries will succeed. That being said, if you’re feeling the urge to start a firm of your own, you may want to start by evaluating your current law career.
The following are some signs that opening a firm would be a good career move for you:
You Have Several Loyal Clients
If you’ve been working as a lawyer in another firm for a while, chances are you’ve built up a list of loyal clients who like your work and will follow you wherever you go. Even if you have just a few clients who are likely to do this, this is a good sign that you might be able to make it on your own.
You Have Other Lawyers Who Want to Work with You
In addition to having loyal clients who are willing to follow you to another firm, do you have other friends who are lawyers who are willing to follow as well? If there are other people who want to join your firm, they can bring more clients and help you start the business off on a good note.
You Have a Narrow Niche
Maybe you don’t have a lot of legal experience yet. However, if you practice a very specific type of law and have a narrow niche, you can likely make it on your own. If you’re the only lawyer in the area who practices the type of law in which you specialize, people will have no choice but to hire you.
You Have Business Experience
If you don’t have a lot of legal experience, it helps to have some business knowledge or experience under your belt. Knowing the ins and outs of running a successful business will give you a leg up over others who start a law firm without much knowledge of the business side of things.
You Have Adequate Capital to Get Started
Finally, consider the financial aspects of starting a law firm.
Have you saved a lot of money from your work as a lawyer? Do you have a wealthy family who can help to bankroll you as you get your firm off the ground?
Remember, it’s going to take a while for your firm to be profitable. Make sure you have enough money to pay yourself and any employees you hire during this time.
How to Start a Law Firm
If you’ve evaluated yourself and decided that starting a law firm is a good option for you, it’s time to take action. Here are some steps you ought to start establishing your firm:
Determine Your Practice Area
Start by determining your practice area.
What kind of law firm are you going to open? Will it be a group of lawyers who specialize in personal injury law? Real estate law?
Once you know your practice area, you’ll have an easier time knowing what kind of lawyers you want to hire to help you run the firm and how you can tailor your marketing message to attract the right types of clients.
Create a Solid Business Plan
Next, it’s time to work on your business plan.
It doesn’t matter if you’re opening a law firm or a tire shop. No matter what kind of business you’re opening, you need a business plan.
Spend some time outlining the steps you’re going to take to make your business a profitable one.
You don’t have to stick to this plan precisely as it’s laid out. However, it’s still a good idea to have some guidelines to follow. Having a detailed business plan will also work in your favor when you’re looking to get financing from bank or credit unions.
Start with the Basics
When you’re looking for the right location for your law firm, remember that it’s okay to start lean. You might have dreams of glass buildings with incredible views of the city. Chances are, those buildings aren’t yet in your budget.
Instead of blowing a ton of money on an eye-catching space, start with the basics. As long as you have an office space that can house a computer, some basic office equipment, a good internet connection, you’ll have all you need to get your firm up and running.
Make Smart Hiring Decisions
The people you hire to help you build your firm will make a big difference to its level of success. If you bring on another lawyer, make sure they’re someone who can really add value to the firm.
It’s not enough for them to be able to define “reasonable doubt.” Ideally, they’ll have clients they can bring with them or experience working in a new firm.
Bring on support staff early on who can help with the day-to-day operations of the firm. This might include an administrative assistant to keep you organized or a bookkeeper to help you stay on top of the firm’s finances.
Start Your Own Law Firm Today
Now that you know how to start a law firm and all the effort goes into it, are you ready to get to work? If you think that starting your own law firm is a good option for you, keep these tips in mind to increase your chances of success.
If you enjoyed this article and want more advice on starting a law firm, don’t forget to visit the Business section of our website. There are lots of other great articles there that will teach you more about the ins and outs of opening a law firm.