You’ve gone to law school. You’ve passed the bar exam. And you’ve spent a few years working in a law firm in your area.
Now, you want to strike out on your own and jumpstart your own law firm. But not so fast!
Before you even think about starting your own law firm, it’s important for you to sit down and make sure you’re 100% committed to it. There are more than 400,000 law firms in the country today, which means you’re going to need to bring your A-game to launch a successful law firm.
You’re also going to need to follow a series of steps to ensure your law firm gets off to a strong start. Here are seven tips that will help you get off on the right foot.
1. Come Up With a Name for Your Law Firm
Technically, you can wait until later on to create a name for your law firm if you want. But doing it at the very beginning will make things feel real when you’re starting your own law firm.
You shouldn’t get too creative when you’re brainstorming ideas for names for your law firm. More often than not, lawyers opt to go with their last names as part of the names of their law firms for branding purposes. Klein Law Group is a great example of this.
No matter which direction you decide to go in, your name should be something that sticks with people so that they remember you. You want them to think of your law firm first when they’re in need of a lawyer.
2. Decide Where You Want to Open Your Law Firm
Are there already 100 other lawyers operating in the city or town in which you work right now? That might not be the best place for you to go about starting your own law firm.
Ideally, you should find an area that’s not already flooded with other lawyers and set up shop there. In a perfect world, your law firm should open in a place where there’s a healthy demand for lawyers and not enough lawyers to meet it.
Outside of considering which city or town you’re going to open your law firm in, you should also look for specific office spaces that might be a good fit for you. Your office should be in a central location that’s easy to get to. It should also be situated in a building that will make people comfortable when they come to visit you.
3. Figure Out What Kinds of Cases Your Law Firm Will Work On
There are more than 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S. right now. That is going to make it difficult for you to stand out.
One way that you can do it is by figuring out exactly what kind of cases your law firm is going to take on. You can accept:
- Personal injury cases
- DUI/DWI cases
- Estate planning cases
- Corporate cases
- Intellectual property cases
It’s a good idea to focus on one kind of case and excel at it to drum up interest in your law firm. If you’re able to establish yourself as, say, the best personal injury lawyer in your area, everyone will know that they need to come to you when they’re involved in personal injury cases.
4. Hire Employees to Help Launch Your Law Firm
It’s going to be very difficult for you to run a law firm on your own.
You might be able to run point for a little while as the lead lawyer in the office. But even still, you’re going to need to consider hiring:
- Law clerks
- Legal assistants
Eventually, you will also probably want to welcome associates and partners into the mix. Your goal should be to grow over time and assemble the strongest team possible for your law firm.
5. Establish a Website for Your Law Firm
In this day and age, it’s pretty much impossible to run a successful law firm without a website. Your website is going to serve as your connection to the world and allow people to find you.
You need to do more than just create a generic website with your contact information on it, too. Your website should have a variety of things on it, including:
- Background information about the history of your law firm and about you as a lawyer
- A list of the legal services you provide
- The areas that you service
- Your phone number, fax number, and email address
- A blog containing articles about law and lawyers
You should attempt to get your website up and running as soon as you possibly can. It’ll give people a chance to learn more about your law firm and what makes it different from all the other firms out there.
6. Market Your Law Firm’s Services to Your Community
Your website is one of the marketing tools you’ll need. But why stop there when you can use marketing to your advantage in other ways?
You can market your law firm to the masses by using social media. You can also sponsor events in your area to build up brand recognition.
You might want to put together TV and radio commercials, too. Do whatever it takes to put your law firm in front of people so that they’ll consider hiring you to represent them.
7. Think About How Your Law Firm Will Bill Clients
At the end of the day, starting your own law firm is great because it allows you to keep almost all of the money your firm makes. But to maximize profits, you need to come up with a good way to bill clients.
Some law firms choose to charge clients a flat fee, while others bill by the hour. You can come up with your own rates and begin generating a profit right from the start.
Starting Your Own Law Firm Can Be a Rewarding Process
Starting your own law firm will be one of the most challenging things you ever do as a lawyer. It’ll also be one of the most rewarding.
You’ll love seeing your name on the sign outside of your law firm. You’ll also enjoy working with your own clients and working hard to build up a good reputation in your community.
Check out our blog for more advice on setting out on your own and opening your own law firm.