When you became a full-fledged lawyer, the idea of starting your own firm might have crossed your mind. But starting your own law practice is not as simple as it seems. There are bills to pay, an office to run, and many prospective clients to attract.
The biggest challenge is that you have none of the resources of a large firm to help you accomplish those things.
Running your own business can be quite daunting at first. However, great risks also come with great rewards. Statistics provided by the American Bar Association showed that in 2005, 49% of American private practitioners were solo practitioners.
There’s no reason to be overwhelmed by the thought of starting your own law practice all by yourself. Just like most successful solo entrepreneurs, you will surely learn the tricks as you go along. Here are 5 great tips for lawyers who are thinking of launching their own firm:
1. Find the perfect location.
Your office reflects your law practice so be sure to find one that fits your image. Projecting the right image for your law firm is actually important in winning clients. Does your law firm’s office have a nice view? Does it have a clean and simple interior? Is it located in a business district? These are some things to consider regarding impressing potential clients who come to visit your office.
2. Set up your own website.
A good web presence is essential for any law firm. Your unique website should contain several important pieces of information: the details of your law specialization, your contact info, and a brief summary of your credentials. This helps clients easily see if you are in the position to help them.
3. Understand that you’re running a business.
Working at a larger firm means you can sit back and do your job as a lawyer while other departments worry about accounting, client relations, marketing, and more. This is not the case when you’re running your own firm. Prepare yourself for the eventuality of spending more hours working on your business than actually practicing your profession—especially during the first few months (or even years).
4. Keep an adequate budget.
Admit it; you know that starting a law practice by yourself is going to be costly. You’ll need money for renting out an office space, buying office supplies, paying your staff, and a lot more. Set aside a credible, sensible budget to cover everything you need for your business and try to work within it.
5. Know how to properly market your practice.
Most ambitious attorneys establish their own firm without first learning how to market it. You might be doing exceptional legal work but, the reality is that without marketing, no one will be able to find you. You need to be hands-on in terms of marketing. Learn the ropes by attending legal marketing symposiums and reading marketing books, and then grow your practice by implementing your ideas.
The rigors of being a solo practitioner and a full-time entrepreneur are not for everyone. If the risk and challenges of creating your own law firm excite you, then it’s the perfect time to take the leap. Opening a law firm can be difficult at first, but with hard work and perseverance, you will be extremely rewarded.
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