Small Business Brief

Attorneys & Legal

The 10 Steps to Starting Your Own Law Firm

Did you know there are over 1 million lawyers in the United States?

No wonder that with so many lawyers graduating everyone is looking for where they will practice and represent clients.

Are you sick of having a boss?

If you want to go on your own, check out these steps to starting your own law firm in no time flat.

The 10 Steps to Starting Your Own Law Firm

There are so many reasons it’s a smart idea to start your own law firm instead of working for someone else. The great news is that starting your own law firm doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If you know where to start and what to keep in mind it will make everything go smooth.

Depending on the type of law you will practice and where you’re located some of the steps below might vary.

1. Name

First things first what will you call your law firm? You want to pick a name that will be simple for people to remember. Some lawyers choose to use their name and others choose a name that they feel relates to the type of law they practice.

You will want to double check that the name you choose is also available to create a website in the future for potential clients to be able to find you online.

2. Location

When you first decide to start your own law firm you will want to choose where you will be working from. Some lawyers start in a home office until they have enough money flow to rent office space.

When considering long term business lawyers don’t want to see clients in their personal home so if you choose this route to keep in mind it’s probably short term. Also, you might still want to check out office spaces to see if you possibly can afford it. You might find something that’s reasonable and a landlord willing to work with you as a new business.

Something else to consider is having a virtual office. This allows you the freedom of working from anywhere you choose and it gives future clients to meet with you from wherever they are thanks to technology. With a virtual office, you can set up a home office and not worry about having to move to another office and pay rent in the future.

There’s also the option of being part of a virtual office network. This is a network that you’re able to reserve rooms to meet with clients. This allows you to work from anywhere you choose but have a physical place to meet a client if you need to.

3. Licenses

Do your research on the licenses and permits you will need in the state you’re practicing from. Every state and city has different requirements and you want to make sure you’re covered to avoid penalties or being forced to close your doors. 

Depending on how you set up shop you might also need to apply for an Employer Identification Number to make things clearer for the IRS if you decide to hire a staff. This EIN number is similar to a social security number except it’s used for business names instead of people.

4. Budget

Starting a law firm should be based on getting it up and running. There is no need to have a fancy office space for your clients to meet you in the beginning. A client wants to know that you have the knowledge to represent them vs having a super fancy office that makes your prices higher because you have to pay rent.

Have a budget in mind so that you can figure out how much you can invest in your website, rent, office furniture, office supplies, permits, licenses, and your marketing campaigns. Law firms are a knowledge-based career so the main thing is to not be stressed out or too exhausted to serve your clients. 

5. Office

In order to take care of appointments, paperwork, and clients you want to set up your office for success. You will need a computer, printer, scanner, fax machine, and telephone system to name a few electronics. You will also need some furniture such as a desk and chair and furniture for future clients to have somewhere to sit.

Don’t forget that part of setting up the office involves small office things such as:

  • Envelopes
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Staplers
  • Binders
  • Paper Clips
  • Sticky Notes

A filing system is something else to consider to keep clients cases organized and easy to access as needed. 

6. Staff

Make a list of the help you will need to run your law firm. This can include things like paying bills, setting appointments, taking phone calls, filing papers, confirming appointments, follow up calls, etc. 

Once you’re up and running those everyday tasks can consume a lot of time. Hiring a small staff to help you will save you time and allow you to focus on giving your clients the attention they deserve. Once you figure out exactly what you need help with and how many people you will need you can put a job ad out.

Once you start getting calls for the position you need to be filled begin the interview process. Make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as duties, pay rate, hours, etc.

7. Library

Make sure that you have a library that covers all the topics you need for your specific law practice. A library doesn’t have to break the bank you can find books online or even find a location that is close to a law library you can access.

All laws are constantly changing which is where upkeeping the library will cost money. Practice guides for laws are also updated constantly which is another expense if you try to keep up with new practice guides as they are released.

Thanks to technology you can also consider having an online library to save money and save space.

8. Website

Have a professional website built that best shows off your brand and who you are as a law firm. You want your website to be professional but also unique to who you are. This law firm does a great job of keeping potential clients engaged and looking through their site.

Nowadays a website is usually the first interaction someone will have with your business. Long gone are the days of searching through the yellow pages today most people go do a Google search for what they’re looking for. This first interaction with your law firm will help them make a decision of whether they will call you or not.

Make sure your website is visually appealing, easy to navigate, user-friendly, and most importantly tells people how to contact you.

9. Marketing

Marketing will make the difference between staying open or shutting down. Before choosing what type of marketing you will do make sure you know the type of clients you want to attract into your law firm. Your marketing strategy can set you apart from the competition and keep new clients coming through the door on a consistent basis.

The better your marketing efforts as you grow your happy clients will be happy to send you their friends and family. Referral marketing techniques can be one of the quickest and most profitable ways to grow your law firm.

10. Increase Traffic

A great way to increase traffic organically is by starting a blog on your law firms website.

As you add content to your blog of value to those seeking law advice people that are searching online will come across your website. If the content you have up is of value to them they will continue looking through your site and will contact you if they feel you can help represent them in their case.

The more valuable content you have on your blog the higher the chances you will be found through a simple search online.

For example, someone might search “divorce lawyers in XYZ area” if you have content written about divorce and your website has your location mentioned in several areas you will come up in a search. In this example the more “divorce” articles or blog posts you have up the higher the chances you will be seen.

Challenging but Rewarding

Starting your own law firm can be challenging but in the end, it will be rewarding. There are countless people out there that need proper legal support. Your law firm can make a difference in others lives and you’ll have the opportunity to be part of their life-changing events.

Once your law firm is set up and running check out our tips on getting new clients walking through your doors.