It’s every lawyer’s dream to open up their own law firm. Of course, they don’t realize how challenging it can be. These are some of the lessons that you can anticipate learning when you go through the process of starting your own law firm.
1. Downtime is nonexistent
There is no denying that lawyers work hard to do a great job. In the beginning stages of starting your own law firm, chances are you won’t have any clients. This means you’re going to have to put the pedal to the metal and get out there to drum up some business! This means you’re going to be spending every waking moment networking and putting your name out there. If you’re web-savvy, you’ll want to work on your website and social media accounts as well.
2. Every attorney has their weaknesses—bad attorneys will ignore theirs
Many lawyers will tell you that it is challenging working with other attorneys who ignore their weaknesses. Some attorneys can’t write well and pass on their work to others. They don’t care that their work is riddled with spelling errors, grammatical errors, and incohesive sentences. You do not want to be these people. Try to get feedback from co-counsel or fellow barristers. Always work on your craft—practice makes perfect and the more up-to-date you are on laws and cases, the better prepared you will be.
3. Be prepared for the smarmy salesmen
An attorney’s job is to know the law, but many don’t know the business and probably don’t understand online marketing. This makes them prime targets for people who will offer their services of search optimized content that will guarantee clients who are eager to hire you. These smarmy salesmen are relentless, and when they see a new website that has been launched, you’re going to be targeted. You can expect at least three calls per week as soon as your contact information is made public.
4. Marketing is a long-term activity
Marketing is something that you are always going to have to do throughout your career. Sure, you’ll build a good referral list, but that doesn’t happen until much further down the line, and you can’t rely on online marketing to pay dividends right away. When you are starting your own law firm, it’s going to be hard, especially if you don’t have a whole lot of money in your budget for park benches, billboards or commercials. You’ve got to stay patient, though—the clientele you seek will come, you’ve just got to put yourself out there!
5. Contract work can save your firm
When you are in the beginning stages of starting your own law firm fresh out of college, you’re probably going to have monthly bills rolling in. These things can add up quickly, and if you don’t have money saved just for this situation, you could easily get neck deep into debt. However, if you are able to get some contract work from other attorneys, it can really help you out in the long run. You just do not want to get stuck doing contract work forever because it wouldn’t look very good if you have little to no satisfied clients making referrals.