How to Start Your Own Law Firm: Startup Checklist

Being a lawyer can be a fulfilling job, both personally and financially. While some lawyers are okay working for a firm, others like the idea of starting their own. Starting a law firm can be very exciting, and allows you to focus on what you want and be in control of your own destiny.

Unfortunately, many people who start a small business (law firm or otherwise) will fail. In fact, only about half of all small businesses will make it past their fifth year.

As a result, it is crucial to have a plan and ensure you do everything by the book. With that in mind, this article is going to go over a few things that should be on your checklist if you decide to start your own law firm.

Have a Strategy and Goals in Mind

Photo by Brad Javernick of Home Oomph

The first thing to do is to come up with a strategy and some goals for your firm. What sort of values do you want to have? What will your area of speciality be? What is your vision for the business in two, five and ten years? These are just some of the many questions you will need to think of and answer before starting a business.

It is also crucial to set up some goals. They need to be specific in nature, realistic and actionable. They can be anything from achieving a certain growth rate in terms of clients, to winning a certain number of cases, to ranking higher than other law firms on search engines. Of course, for the last one, you need to have a strong law firm SEO strategy, as things can be quite competitive..

Know the Costs

It is also very important that you are aware of the costs associated with starting a law firm. While the amount will vary depending on where you are and how large you want the firm to be, it can be costly to go out on your own.

Some things you will be responsible for paying for include office supplies, licensing and other legal fees, software and hardware, office space, building a website, marketing and others. This can often cost thousands of dollars just to get the firm off of the ground. You won’t be able to pinpoint your exact costs, but you should be able to get a rough idea of what you spend.

In addition to knowing the costs, you also need to decide how you are going to cover those costs. This could be out of pocket, through a partnership with other lawyers, or even taking out a loan or getting an investment.

Choose a Name, Location and Put Yourself Out There

Once you have the plan/strategy outlined, as well as know a bit about the cost, the next step is all about starting up and getting your name out there. The first aspect of this is choosing the name of your firm. You want a name that rolls off the tongue, and one that is memorable and screams professionalism. Many law firms will simply use the last name of all of the partners, but this isn’t the only option.

The location of your firm can also be important. You want to work in an area you are comfortable with, and one that has plenty of people who may require the use of your specific services. Once all this is taken care of, it’s time to find some customers.

While it would be lovely if people just found your firm organically, this isn’t always realistic early on. You need to market well, reach your target market and put yourself out there. Design a great website, have a social media presence and make it easy for people to contact you.

In conclusion, starting your own law firm can be a big step, but can be well worth it. By having a strategy, setting goals, knowing your costs and getting out there and being memorable, it can be a very profitable endeavor.


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