Lawyers in business: A guide to starting your own law firm
Lawyers are licensed professionals who represent clients in civil, criminal, and other court proceedings. As a lawyer, you might feel quite eager to practice your profession and apply what you’ve learned from many years of studying law.
Aside from becoming a lawyer, owning a law firm could be your next goal. However, you may encounter many challenges during that process. Your family, friends, and colleagues might advise you against building a law firm, especially if you just graduated or recently started a career. Your chance for success may seem low if you don’t have enough experience in the field.
However, if you believe that you have what it takes to own and run a law firm, you can give it a shot. Remember to be committed, make a concrete plan for everything, do research, and learn from others’ experiences. To further help you out, read the simple guide below on how to start your own law firm.
Put Everything Into Consideration
You have to consider everything before finalizing your decision to start your own law firm. You should check if you’re ready and have the means to run it. You have to be prepared emotionally, mentally, and financially. Prepare yourself to handle different forms of stress, pressure, and liability.
Just like any other business, you’ll need money to start your own law firm. It’s a given as there are permits, licenses, and other administrative expenses you’ll need to pay before you can even open your doors. Aside from that, you have to decide if you’re going to buy or rent a space. You’ll also need to furnish your space, purchase equipment and other supplies, and be prepared to pay any help you hire. Make sure that you have the financial resources to cover all of these expenses, as well as any additional expenses that you did not expect.
You need to have the heart of a risk-taker. The success of any business is uncertain. It’s not just a matter of skill set, knowledge, strategy and hard work that bring success to a business. Business owners must face challenges, remain committed, practice discipline and have a great deal of passion for what they do.
Skill in handling business and knowledge of how business works are vital elements for the foundation of your law firm. Most law schools teach you how to become the best lawyer, but do not provide much focus on the ‘business’ of running a law firm. Hence, if you’re determined to build a law firm on your own, you need to do research and be prepared to continue learning every day.
You’ll need patience because success won’t be immediate, and perseverance to overcome the challenges that come before success. The amount of hard work now determines the profit you’ll earn in the future. Make sure you consider all of these things before finalizing your decision to start your own law firm.
There are many areas of law where your firm can focus. Pick one or a maximum of two that you can specialize in, which will serve as the primary services your law firm offers. Expertise and focus of practice are now included in the list of qualities clients look for in a lawyer.
Clients need an expert to handle their cases. If your law firm specializes in the are of law required by a clients’ case, there’s a chance you’ll be on top of their list. Decide now what area of law you’ll practice.
Choosing the right name for your law firm is also important. Don’t put any clichéd phrases on your law firm’s name. It’s the brand of your business. Make it unique and compelling enough to catch attention and stand out in the market.
When clients look for a law firm, they tend to narrow down their search based on the firm’s expertise in handling their particular type of case. Moreover, provide a name that has phrases that can easily be searched on the internet. This will help your firm’s official website in the future to be optimized by SEO and be easily searched by your potential clients.
Find It, Price It, and Build It
The location of your law firm is part of the critical decision-making phase. Put up your firm in an area that’s easy to find and is accessible to your clients. Larger cities with a diverse population are generally good options. For example, Houston and San Antonio in Texas and Jacksonville and Miami in Florida are good places to put up a new law firm.
California is another state that is great for setting up a new law firm. If your practice areas involve personal injury cases, then it could be one of the best places to start your firm. Many areas of California are large population centers with high rates of personal injury cases due to car accidents. Hence, the demands for personal injury attorneys in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and other big counties are high whenever they need any legal help due to accessibility. Choosing urban areas is a good option, since crowded places may give you many potential clients.
After choosing a particular location, you also have to decide whether to buy or rent a building. Some experts would recommend renting a building, especially for people who are new to running a business. If your company succeeds, constructing a new building, developing an existing one, or building an extension is your next option.
Look for the most suitable commercial space at the most reasonable price in your chosen location. You can buy furniture, supplies, and other things needed in your firm. If you wish to hire an assistant, make sure to allocate space for them. The same goes for your other staff, such as the clerk and secretary.
Create a space where your clients feel comfortable as soon as they set foot inside your firm. Often, those seeking the services of an attorney are upset and even frightened. Creating a space where they feel safe and comfortable will only benefit you in the long run.
Starting a new law firm brings many challenges. It requires all your skills and knowledge to be successful. You’ll need to invest in the beginning in a space, supplies, licenses and permits, as well as any talent you wish to hire. Running a business demands patience, perseverance, and hard work to sustain your services in the market. You also have to establish the right name for your firm to create an attractive brand for your potential clients. Remember the guidelines discussed above when you’re planning a new journey in owning and running a law firm.