Are you trying to figure out what to do when starting a law firm? This guide lays out exactly what to do to start your own law firm.
If you’ve spent the early years of your law firm experience working under someone else, then it’s completely understandable that you’re thinking about starting your law firm. Before you can seriously consider starting your own law firm, some things need to be taken care of first.
If your feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, all you’ve got to do is continue reading this guide. We’re going to breakdown everything that you need to do to get your firm up and running in no time.
Table of Contents
Use Available Resources
When your beginning your law firm, you’ll likely need resources that allow you access to databases to conduct work. This could mean building a relationship with your local librarian. If you’re freshly out of college, then chances are you’re still going to have your nose in a book from time to time.
Other resources that you need are relationships with the local police enforcement and private investigation units. When you’ve got a challenging case ahead and need intel on your subject to continue building the case, these departments can come in handy.
Building a relationship with them will ensure that their working with you instead of against you.
What Type of Practice Will You Start?
The next step is determining what type of law you’re going to practice. Are you going to specialize in family law? Perhaps, you’ve done your studies in personal injury law and want to focus on trying personal injury claims.
The type of law that you choose to structure your firm around should be a type of law that you’ve got experience in. When you’ve clerked in a law firm, it gives you time to understand how the firm is run and apply some of the same guidelines to your new firm.
Another aspect to consider when beginning your firm is deciding whether you’re going to be the only attorney in your practice or going to take on partners.
Calculate Startup Costs
When you’re creating a business plan for your firm, you must detail the business’s costs. In this cost, you need to itemize things that are a necessity and things that you may want then check the cost of having each item for your firm.
You may realize that you need to reduce costs wherever necessary until you begin to take on clients’ increasing your income. Your startup costs should include things like paying for the rent in the space your firm occupies as well as the cost of something like branding and marketing.
Think About Branding
When you begin thinking about branding, you need to develop a mission statement that your company will live by. From there, you can then start the process of choosing the name for your new law firm. Most firms prefer to use the last names or first initial of the attorneys that practice within that firm.
Once you’ve taken care of all of that, you can then decide on the logo that will be present on everything branded by your company. All of these things will give your brand a voice, and this is the voice that you’ll use to connect with potential clients.
Choose An Invoice System
The invoice system that you select will help you to keep all clients information organized. It is also how you can keep track of clients that have paid you for your services and clients that still have outstanding bills.
Having a digital invoice service is first because it helps you remain organized and two because of this organization, it’ll be easier for you to pull files when it’s time to complete taxes.
Your digital system should also be able to support the onboarding process of client information. And if you want to make things even more accessible, you can choose a software that allows clients to fill in their information at home ahead of their first meeting.
This will all help your business to run smoother and make it easier for you to focus on the legal aspect of the business versus worrying about getting paperwork filled out and loaded to the computer properly. Since we’re on the topic of paperwork in the next section, you’re going to discover why you need front desk staff.
Above, we talked about how crucial it was to have a system for the data and paperwork that you’re going to be taking in when gaining clients. Now it’s time to hire your administrative staff to take care of the paperwork and sending invoices to clients once services are complete.
Your staff should be skilled in organization as well as have professional customer service skills. They are the first people to interact with clients, and clients must get an excellent first impression of your firm.
Before meeting with clients, your staff should ensure that all paperwork and payment methods are on file before you proceed with your services. They will also be responsible for obtaining necessary documents to help with cases, including medical records, police reports, and other evidence.
Collecting evidence can make or break a case; that’s why your staff needs to know how to handle such evidence that’s left with them.
Use Lead-Generating Services
Lead generating services have clients, and when their clients require legal services, they will then give your information to them, and the potential client will reach out to you and inquire about your services. When you use lead-generating services, you’ll notice an increase in business and income because of the business.
Did you know that there are more than 41 million Spanish-speaking people in the United States? Most of the time, they aren’t able to access services because of the lack of Spanish speaking lead generators.
This isn’t going to be a problem for your firm; in fact, it’s going to help you grow a law firm. Using a Spanish-speaking lead generator, you’re going to tap into a section of the market that’s neglected.
Rent Office Space
You need to ensure that you have a space to practice when you plan on opening your law firm. Please select an area that gets traffic, but isn’t too busy that people can’t get to your office without risking their lives. Once you’ve chosen an area and building for your office, it’s time to acquire documentation to practice.
You’ll need to obtain the permits for your building detailing the number of people that can be in there at once and also permits you to run a business. Also, when collecting all of your documentation, you’ll need to secure your employer identification number.
This number is the number used when you’re filing your taxes and how the government identifies your business. Another thing to consider when obtaining all necessary paperwork is registering for insurance that will protect your company in future cases of malpractice.
You’ll also need medical and rental insurance to cover your business and your employees.
Set Up a Bank Account
Once you start taking clients and increasing your income, you’ll want to have a place to put the funds that you’re given. This is the time to open a separate account for all of your business needs.
Also, when you’re opening an account, hire an accountant to keep track of all the funds that are coming in and flowing out of your account. If you don’t keep track of the money, you’re spending and making it easy to spend more money than you have.
Again, after the firm opens in the first couple of years, you’re going to want to avoid spending money unnecessarily because the point is to earn money, not spend it.
Increase Your Digital Presence
This means opening up profiles across various social media networks. Advertising on social media platforms is beneficial is because you can guarantee that your target demographic will see your ads as their scrolling through their daily feed.
Whenever you’re posting an ad, ensure that it’s eye-catching and engaging. It will catch potential clients’ eyes and lead them to click on the link provided in the ad.
Once they’ve clicked the link ensures that the links take them to a page where they can contact you. If a potential client has to hunt for your contact information, the likelihood of contacting you becomes reduced.
Create a Website
Since we talked about advertisements taking potential clients to your page, you’ll need a page for them to land on. You can either develop the website yourself or hire a team outside of your office to create it.
What makes a great website? These 5 Website Elements
The page should be full of relevant and concise information that your clients need to know. It’s also crucial that you consider having a blog that offers insightful legal information for clients to browse.
Starting Your Own Law Firm is Rewarding
When starting your own law firm, you should take into account everything that’s been explained above. Various aspects go into getting your business off the ground, but doing things correctly will help make your business a long term success.
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