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Law Firm Startup Tips

— March 25, 2021

By taking the time to thoroughly review all available options, you will be prepared to enter a successful law practice and conquer any challenges that come your way.

If you’re looking to start your own law firm, there are several tasks to complete before you hang up your shingle to ensure your business is on the path to success. First, decide on a business name and register the name and business entity with your state’s business office. Then open up bank accounts to cover operating expenses, tax payments, and a trust account to hold funds on your client’s behalf.

Equip Yourself

Now that you’ve taken care of those basic formalities, make sure you have the right tools for the job. Tough laptops that can move with you from home to office to a client’s conference room are ideal. Couple the laptop with a printer that can handle copying, scanning and printing letterhead and envelopes. Finally, decide on how you will handle your telephone calls. Do you want a landline or VOIP phone system with different phone lines, the ability to transfer calls, and enhanced voicemail capabilities? Or will using a cell phone or a single telephone line be sufficient? Think about your area of practice and the types of clients you wish to attract and choose accordingly.

Flying Solo?

An important consideration when starting your law firm is whether you will be a sole practitioner or working with other attorneys. Think carefully about whether you enjoy working among others and bouncing ideas off colleagues or if you prefer to work alone, as it can become quite difficult to disentangle yourself from a joint partnership, especially where financial obligations are concerned.

"A Country Lawyer from Mississippi" is Taking on the Crisis
Photo by Jeremy Beadle on Unsplash

Pick and Choose

Decide on your practice area based on your skills, knowledge, and likelihood of financial success in the geographical area you wish to practice in. Ask local attorneys for advice about running a law business in your city, and contact colleagues who specialize in your chosen area for tips on getting clients and marketing your firm. Think about whether you want to work in just one area or whether you’d like to diversify and cover a number of subjects. If you get bored easily or thrive on new and exciting challenges, a practice with multiple specialties will be a perfect fit. But if you prefer a stable, predictable office life, then you should focus on an area of law you’re already familiar with.

Location, Location, Location

Many people might start dreaming of prime downtown real estate for their new law firm, but before you get too far ahead of yourself, think first about whether you even want a brick-and-mortar office at all. With high-speed internet available from any location, it’s possible to work from wherever you’d like. Whether this means traveling the world with a laptop in hand or simply setting up your guest bedroom as an office, there are many options available to you. However, if you want a separate office space, there are several items to consider first. Review your office lease terms and costs carefully, and don’t forget the cost of setting up internet, phone and electricity accounts; also remember to take into consideration the costs of furnishing a new office space.

Work Your Network

Finally, to ensure all this hard work is paying off, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Start reaching out to friends and family to announce this exciting new step and let them know you’re open for business. Send your college and law schools an announcement to include in their alumni magazine and contact their respective career services offices to see if they have any resources for you. Send a press release to local newspapers so that community members can learn about the services you provide and become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or other service organizations so that you can gain a more public profile and make local contacts.

By taking the time to thoroughly review all available options, you will be prepared to enter a successful law practice and conquer any challenges that come your way.

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