Upon graduating, a lawyer in the United States can expect to earn around $160,000 depending on what type of law they practice and where.
It is hard to argue with that kind of salary — but it is worth noting you could probably earn more by starting a law firm of your own.
Yet if you have dreams of opening a law firm, you may be unsure of how to get the ball rolling. Where should you locate your firm? How will you find clients?
In this post, we will cover five things you need to focus on if you want to start your own law firm. If the thought of opening up a law firm is something that makes you nervous, these 5 top tips will help you throw the book at your doubts.
Let’s begin with preparing for your new legal practice launch!
1. Pick a Good Location
It helps to locate your law firm in a place where it is easy to attract a large number of clients. In most cases, this means setting up your firm in a large city.
If you locate your firm within a large city, you will have access to a large pool of people. This then means competition becomes less of an issue as there are plenty of clients for everyone.
That said, having an office within a large city can be expensive, and this might worry you.
But it’s important to remember that you don’t need a large office, you just need a presence in the city. Once you begin to get some clients, you can then think about moving into a larger office which is situated in a better part of the city.
If you need help finding an affordable office, reach out to a real estate agent that specializes in office space. If you tell this person what your needs are, it shouldn’t take them too long to find something that’s in line with your preferences.
2. Stock up Your Office
You will need to invest in some items that help you complete certain day to day tasks. This might include a photocopier, a computer, and even bits of stationery. Smart modern printers and copy machines can help your legal practice become more efficient. Work with an experienced equipment vendor: iotec has been providing commercial copiers for the greater los angeles area for 25+ years, so this may be an option worth considering if you are in the process of stocking up your office.
If you are short on cash, you might struggle to pay for some of the larger items. In such a situation, it can be a good idea to look at buying second-hand items or even leasing your equipment.
3. Will You Need to Hire Some Help?
To help you deal with some of the work associated with running a law firm, you may want to look into hiring some help.
This person can help you with the paperwork and general phone calls that would otherwise “bog you down.”
You should think about creating a job ad in relevant legal publications. You’ll also want to create a job posting on more general websites, like Indeed or Monster.
When writing your job description, do everything you can to eliminate confusion. Clearly describe the responsibilities associated with the job, and how many hours the person will be expected to work.
It’s important you have a thorough hiring process so that it’s easy to screen out people that won’t be a good fit.
You want to ask applicants about their existing credentials and whether they have any legal qualifications. You should also ask them to provide references, so you can see how they performed with other employers.
Once you find someone that looks promising, you may want to offer them a 60-day trial. Depending on how things go during this trial, you can then decide whether they’d be a good long term employee.
As time goes on, you may want to help them improve their skills so they can perform better in the workplace.
You might do this by sending them something like this useful post, so they can learn about document storage. You may even send them on a course so they can improve their ability to use certain forms of legal software.
4. Should You Niche Down?
If your law firm is located within a particularly competitive region, you might want to think about niching down.
In doing so, you’ll be able to position yourself as an expert for one specific kind of legal problem.
This will make it easier for you to attract clients, as people would rather work with an expert, than a generalist. Especially if they’re faced with a challenging legal situation where they want to achieve the best possible outcome.
Of course, your ability to niche down is going to depend on what you’re best suited to, and so you’ll need to review your skills first.
It’ll also depend on the specialties of other local law firms.
For instance, your decision to niche down and become a divorce lawyer won’t matter that much, if there are 100 other divorce lawyers in your local area.
Thus, consider which markets are underserved in your local region. Then think about how you can position your law firm so that it caters to these markets.
5. Don’t Forget About Marketing
Even though you might’ve niched down your law firm, and located it within a populated area, it doesn’t mean clients will automatically find you.
Because of this, you need to think about how you can market your law firm.
At the most basic level, you need to create a website that describes the services you offer. On your website, you need to list the reasons people should work with you and not a competing law firm.
You may also want to target specific Google search terms so that potential clients come across your law firm when looking for legal help.
If you find it difficult to manage the marketing side of your law firm, it can be a good idea to hire a marketing agency.
If you’re going to go down this route, find an agency that has dealt with law firms in the past. They’ll already know how to get your firm the attention it deserves, thereby shortening the time it takes to see results.
Time to Go About Starting a Law Firm?
If you have dreams of starting a law firm, the tips in this post should help you get things moving.
It’s fair to say that you’re going to experience many challenges. But if you take an objective look at each problem, you should always be able to find a reasonable solution that’ll help you take your firm to the next level.
If you can do that consistently, it won’t be long before you’re one of the top law firms in the area.
Are you worried about your ability to market your law firm? Check out this post to learn how you can help your law firm win new clients.