Owning a law firm is always in the ambitions of most people who’ve graduated from law school. But what many law graduates fail to understand is that starting a law practice is a twofold ordeal. It means that you’re operating a business while also practicing law. This sounds like an exciting experience but let’s not forget that it’s also a challenging one.
All the same, this article will focus on key tips that are sure to make your move to start a law firm, the best move you can make. All it takes is determination, adequate planning, and a sense of professionalism in all that you do.
Before you start law firm operations, there are certain personal concerns. They include:
- Understanding that being self-employed is very different from being an employee. Thus, there is a need for attitudinal change
- There is a need to develop necessary skills that revolve around business ownership
You have to consider if you are the following:
- If you possess leadership skills
- A self-starter and self-motivator
You have to assess your problem-solving skills and better them. It’s also imperative that you hone your planning and organization skills. Another important consideration is people skills. This is very important especially in maintaining business relationships whether in the external or internal environment.
How to Start Law Firm Operations: Defining the Practice
One important tip on how to start law firm operations is knowing exactly which area of law that you’ll be practicing. It also entails knowing the exact location in terms of city and region where you’ll provide the legal services. In order to enhance this, you need to prepare an adequate business plan which will provide further definitions for your practice.
The best and most convenient way of how to start law firm is offering broad-based services in the first instance. These broad services should be derived from those services that you would like to offer in the long run. The best way to ensure success is choosing a strategy that targets a specific market and specific practice at the onset on the business.
So, to sum up, what are some of the checklists in the definition stage?
- Determining your target clients
- Identifying specific services that your target clients want
- Evaluating the various ways in which your client will get the services
- Pinpointing an area of law that you would practice and provide services
- Ensuring that you’re competent in the specific area that you have chosen to practice
- Determining if there are other auxiliary services that you can offer in addition to the legal services that you’re offering
- Determining a suitable location that offers some convenience to your practice
- Evaluating whether there is a viable market in the actual location chosen
- Checking if there are other legal professionals in the chosen area who would provide some sort of support as you growing in the business
Get Some Office Space
With regard to office space, some people choose to have their own homes as office spaces while others might go out looking of a business premise. Well, the choice purely lies within one’s means and preferences. But special consideration has to be made as to whether your choice of office space will attract your clients.
For those who choose to go the office way, there are certain considerations:
- Municipal zoning laws which may limit operations from home
- Whether your clients have convenience at your home (in terms of parking space and security too)
- If your home can accommodate support staff
- If your home can support business systems
However, if your home does not provide the needed space and convenience, you can go and rent out some business premise space as your office.
You will need the following items at least at the basic level:
- Computers, Printers, Scanners, and Software
- Fax machine
- Telephone system
You will also need desks and chairs. If your office is big enough, you can get a reception desk and some reception chairs for your clients.
You Need a Library
Who is a lawyer that does not have a library? In fact, most clients do not trust lawyers whose shelves are filled with air. You need to invest in a decent library. This library should be filled with reading materials that revolve around the legal and business field. They may include:
- Practice guides
- Case laws
- Law journals
- Law reviews
- Magazines on current legal affairs and the likes.
Every lawyer of substance has to invest in a library. Of importance to note is that libraries are an expense owing to the evolving nature of law. Even so, you can greatly reduce this expense by positioning yourself near a law library or by the use of online resources.
Open a Bank Account
You simply cannot function without the input of financial companies such as banks. In fact, they can even give you vital tips on how to start law firm financial operations. You should realize that financial institutions are part of your business network. You stand to benefit immensely when you start a working relationship with them. This relationship is usually for the long-term, hence, take your time in selecting a financial institution that you see yourself growing with.
Determine how many bank accounts you would need and also the type of bank accounts that will be beneficial for your practice.
Get informed about accounting techniques. Hire an accountant, if need be, to keep track of your finances.
Be a Good Listener
Listening skills are important to any practice. This is true when interacting with clients and other stakeholders. Make sure that you’re all ears when a client is expressing themselves concerning a certain legal problem. Let them tell their story. Afterward, make sure you revert in a clear and understandable language. The legal jargon is best suited for the courtroom or when engaging in correspondence in the capacity of your client’s attorney!
In conclusion, the above tips are essential on how to start law firm operations. Use them decisively in your quest to be the best law firm in your location!