Law schools across the US graduate more than 44,000 new lawyers every year.
Following graduation, most lawyers work at an established law firm to gain experience. But at some point in your career, you may be considering starting your own firm.
If and when that time comes, you’ll need to know the best tips for starting your own law firm. You should know how to prepare and what you’ll need to be successful.
Below, we’ve gathered seven things you need to know when opening a law firm so you can put your best foot forward.
1. Have a Website
About 45% of small businesses in the US don’t have a website. So having a website puts you ahead of the competition. And considering that many people head to the internet first when looking for services, having a site for potential clients to find you is crucial.
2. Have A Focus
You might think you’re capable of taking on cases ranging from personal injury law to family law, but that’s not a great idea. You should pick a niche based on your experience, expertise, and interest.
By choosing a niche, you reduce the number of people you’re competing with. It also gives you the opportunity to become an expert in one area of law. The more you work with any given area, the more about this situation you know.
3. Have Your Finances in Order
Before you quit your current position and start looking for an office, you want to make sure you can survive while you build your business. It takes time to build a clientele and you’ll need to cover your expenses while you do that.
As a good rule of thumb, you should have at least five or six months of expenses saved. You might also consider adding a buffer for unexpected situations. Your budget should be based on your actual personal living costs from month to month.
4. Choose Your Costs Appropriately
Unlike some other industries and businesses, starting a law practice doesn’t require any huge upfront investment. All you need is your knowledge, a phone, and maybe a computer to get started.
But while keeping your startup costs low is a bonus, you shouldn’t be skimpy with essential items either. There are things your firm will need to operate efficiently and effectively. And there are some areas that are worth investing in, which we’ll talk about next.
5. Get A Bookkeeper
While keeping the costs down is important, getting a bookkeeper can save you time and money in the long run. When you’re starting your practice, you’ll need all the resources you can get to building and marketing your business. Managing the day-to-day along with your books is an overwhelming task.
Skip the QuickBooks and look into having your books managed by a professional. There are plenty of off-site options available that are affordable and time-saving.
6. Don’t Burn Bridges
It’s unlikely that you’re starting a practice right out of law school. So when you’re leaving your current position, be courteous and make sure you fulfill your responsibilities. That means wrapping up or transitioning any outstanding cases and giving your firm ample time to prepare for your departure.
7. Build a Brand
When you go out on your own, you don’t have the name of a big, established law firm to back you up. It’s now up to you to build your brand and your reputation.
Consider what you want to accomplish, what you believe in, and what you stand up for. Convey this in your missions statement and in all your website and social media branding.
More Than Just Tips for Starting Your Own Law Firm
Follow these seven tips for starting your own law firm for your best chance at success. Take time to think about your image, and then convey that in your marketing and on your website. You should also consider your finances before you leave your current position and be sure you have a financial safety net.
We offer you more than tips on your career. Check out our blog for other lifestyle and health advice.