When you’re looking to start your own law firm, there’s a wealth of information that you should have a grasp on. Though most people wouldn’t make this connection right away, starting a law firm takes the exact same knowledge, and is the exact same process, as starting your own business. People don’t tend to see lawyers as businessmen, regardless of the fact that they cultivate their own business by creating their brand, and what they stand for. Therefore, when it comes to starting your own law firm, you need to find a way to balance the information that you already hold about your line of work, and the things you need to learn that pertain to running your own business.
We’ve done some of that hard work for you and compiled a list of the things you should keep at the forefront of your mind if you want to start your own law firm. It’s a mix of both worlds—as a trained and licensed professional, people who want to start their own law firms already have a firm grasp on the execution of the job itself. This list will, hopefully, provide some of the more structural knowledge, and make that overall transition easier to tackle for first-time business owners. Let’s get started!
1: Spend Wisely
It’s no secret that, to start your own law firm, you need the funds to do it. In the beginning, it’s hard to make sense of what you need, versus what you think you need. Spending wisely is the best way to ensure a solid foundation to build your business on. For the most part, creating your own law firm can be fairly inexpensive—most lawyers just need a computer, a phone, and an internet connection to get the ball rolling. Invest in things that can expand your reach and give you stability, and save your money for things that you’ll need later down the line.
2: Get Specific
If you want to start your own law firm, you need to choose something to specialize in from the very start. Choose the field of law you want to study, and to represent. Defining your business by a niche that you know you can represent with ease will help you cultivate a client base. Additionally, getting specific allows you to cater to people with those specific needs, and it decreases the chances that your clients will go to another lawyer to get what they want if you’re the only business who can help them. Research your niche, perfect it, and stick to it.
3: Organize Your Finances
Tying in with spending wisely is making sure that the money you do have is well organized, and well kept. Ensuring that the funds you’ve cultivated over the years to start your own business don’t go to waste is important when you’re looking to start your own law firm. After all, businesses don’t take off overnight. It’ll take some time for you to generate some clients, find stability, and start making money to counteract the money you’re spending to maintain your law firm. Keep yourself centered and organized, and you’ll find the longevity you need.
4: Engage Your Community
One of the best ways to foster a sense of engagement is to connect with people in your community. In the end, that’s how law firms survive—by connecting with the people around them, they can extend their business reach and maintain a sense of loyalty to the people who need it most. If you’re looking to start your own law firm, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve established a connection with the people in your community. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to other businesses in the area, especially other lawyers and law firms. You can learn the rights and the wrongs of building your business, and the pitfalls to avoid from those who’ve experienced it before.
5: Establish Your Brand
One of the most important parts of creating your own business is building the image of your brand. Even deeper, though, is your brand message, and what you aim to do when you start your own law firm. Create the message, and tell people what you can do to make their lives easier with the services that you offer. Cultivate that message into the visual aspects of your business, and make it very clear what your business does. For your law firm to last, your brand and your brand message need to hold a sense of importance in order for your business to flourish.
6: Plan, Don’t Hesitate
It might seem easy to do at first, but often times, business owners will get caught up in their heads about the planning process. This way of thinking delays the opening of the business, and sometimes, completely negates the fact that you began this journey to start your own law firm. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t let yourself get caught up in the planning stages. Of course, starting a business does take a fair amount of planning and strategy. However, you cannot let yourself get lost in the beginning stages of the process. Make sure you get what you need to start getting things done, like the necessary technology, and work on the rest while you’re already cultivating a client base.
7: Understand Technology
Speaking of the necessities, it’s important for anyone looking to start a business that you understand the tools required for your business. Technology moves just as quickly as the world of business, and keeping track of what’s necessary for your business to flourish is important if you want to make sure your business can last. When investing, choose the products that you know will stand up to the test of time. Make sure that you’re getting what’s necessary to the success of your business. Most importantly, make sure that you know how to use the necessary technologies that go hand in hand with wanting to start your own law firm. Being technologically savvy is something that’s not technically required, but something that makes your life as a business owner easier.
8: Become A Listener
It seems too obvious to state, but for those looking to start your own law firm, one of the most basic things you need to master is the art of listening. Starting a business can be chaotic, from start to finish. However, in that process, you must remember why you started the business in the first place. In the case of your law firm, you’re doing it so you can use the skills you’ve learned to help connect with other people and to make their lives easier. Through that, you must be able to use communication to your best advantage. Listen to your clients, listen to their cases and their problems. By allowing them to speak their truth, you can do your job better, and foster a sense of trust that’ll give your business a foundation of integrity.
9: Invest In Marketing
Another one that seems too obvious to share, but is worth remembering as you start your own law firm. The money you have is good for investing, and there’s nothing better to invest in when you’re just starting out than marketing. You need to make sure that, once people do business with you, they can find you. Having a website is an important standard for anyone to create, and making sure that the website you create for your business is something that shows your professionalism will ensure that you keep your clients and that you can gain new ones. Additionally, you want to think about the kind of places you want to expand on—social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools in this day and age. Set up an ad campaign, and engage with your target audience.
10: Use Evaluations
Becoming a business owner means being in charge of staff, and one of the best ways that you can make sure your staff is improving is through the use of an evaluation system. Additionally, allowing yourself to use an evaluation system lets you address your business model to see what’s working, and what isn’t. In the early stages of a business, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks, and it’s impossible to know what will and won’t work. Take the time to look back, see where improvements can be made, and execute the necessary changes to help your business flourish as you start your own law firm.
11: Establish Your Workflow
When you plan to start your own law firm, one of the most important things to establish from an early date is how your workflow will proceed. Working with clients is the goal, after all, and having a system in place to handle the clients that you engage with will certainly help establish your business as one of the best, despite a fresh beginning. Don’t be afraid to make your process quick and rigid—though it might seem counterproductive, establishing yourself as a professional will help you keep clients on longer. Ensure that your cash flow is consistent, and help your business take off without a hitch.
12: Build A Rhythm
Going hand in hand with your workflow is building a steady rhythm. One of the most important things in the world of business is consistency. New businesses need to have a plan to stay relevant and to outsmart the competition. That requires consistency, and the ability to put out content on a regular basis that speaks to the audience you’re trying to engage. When you want to start your own law firm, building a rhythm is integral to your long term success. Post on social media at the same scheduled times across the board, maintain a sense of rhythm in the workplace by holding weekly meetings and generate interest with a newsletter that ships out to your email list consistently. Maintain your rhythm, and keep them interested.
13: Stay Organized
An organized workplace is a happy workplace. Maintain a sense of organization from the very beginning, and your business can and will thrive. One of the most important things that clients and customers take in when deciding to do business with someone new is the state of their workplace. Is it neat? Tidy? Comfortable? Don’t lose out on potential clients for your business by letting things pile up. Additionally, though it goes without saying, one of the best parts of being organized is the simplicity of it all. When you want to start your own law firm, you need to be on top of things from the get-go. Organize your business, and maintain a sense of stability.
14: Create an Employment Process
Part of starting a business is hiring staff to help support you on your journey. Therefore, before you start your own law firm, it’s best that you know what to do when it comes to bringing on team members to be apart of your staff. Hiring people yourself is important in the beginning, and as more people join the team, you need to make sure that the members of your staff know how to train the newest additions. Make sure they’re aware of what they’ll be doing, the benefits that come from having this job, and what they need to know when it comes to their role in the office. If you’ve got an employment process already figured out before you need to start making calls, the actual action of hiring people will be much faster, and easier.
15: Prepare For Clients
Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to make sure that your process for taking on clients is solidified. The entire point behind wanting to start your own law firm in the process of taking on clients and helping them with their troubles. Therefore, when it comes to the process of actually being able to take on clients, you want to make sure you’ve already smoothed out any bumps in the road. Figure out how you want to work with people, establish a set of rules that you operate under, and start to figure out what kind of clients work best with the business and the brand message that you’re aiming to stand behind.
Tips to Start Your Own Law Firm: Plan, Aim High, Succeed
In the end, wanting to start your own law firm means that you’ve got your eye on the future. A business can be a tricky thing to maintain, and overall, you want to make sure that you’re dedicated towards the cause that you’re building around. Find your niche, don’t be afraid to specialize in something that you’re well versed in, and use your knowledge to build a brand that people can trust and work with. Take on clients that you know you can help, establish a connection with your community, and understand the basic fundamentals of starting a business by putting some basic digital marketing to work. Hard work can and will pay off, so long as you have the right tools to get the work started.