Last updated on March 28th, 2018
After graduating from a law school, you might be dreaming of starting a law firm of your own. But many people will advise you against taking this step for lack of experience of the field. Still, if you are confident of working independently right at the start of your career, running a law firm is within your means. Unfortunately, many law experts think that they may meet the fate of the firms that closed abruptly.
The law firms that failed had themselves to blame. Those firms made some basic mistakes. For example, 40% of all small law firms do not have a website. That is a silly mistake to make in the modern world of Internet, when the clients mostly go online to find out expert lawyers and firms. Even those law firms having a website do not care much for proper marketing of their services. Their websites did not update content regularly. Now that people use mobile devices such as smartphones to search for services, only one third of the failed law firm websites were found optimized for different mobile devices.
Starting a law firm is easy but running it in an organized way is another thing. You must adopt the latest technologies for operating a service or business online. But studies have revealed that many law firms were unaware of the ways to branding their firms. For example, while updating a website’s content is essential to brand building these days, a survey found that only 35% of the law firm website designs were updated in the past few years. So, if you can avoid making such basic mistakes, your chances of starting and running a law firm successfully go higher.
Here Are The 10 Tips For Starting Your Own Law Firm
1. Keep Away From The Naysayers
Getting regular inflow of clients is surely difficult for a new law school graduate. Most of the advices regarding opening a law firm will be in a negative tone. They may be right to some extent because finding out new clients is surely difficult for a new lawyer. Still, do not be a pessimist and take the bold step by starting your own firm attorney. You will learn by making mistakes and not repeating them. We all move forward in life and business that way.
2. Give Your Law Firm An Appropriate Name
First, choose a right name for your law firm. The name must indicate to your expertise in a branch of law. For example, your expertise may be in dealing with criminal cases, or financial cases. So, the law firm name must show the type of cases you take up.
When naming the firm, make sure that you avoid the clichéd phrases such as ‘’———- and Associates.’’ Instead, adopt simple and straightforward names such as ‘’——– Law Firm’’ or ‘’————— Law Group.’’ If you wish to name your firm after your niche, then phrases such as ‘’————–Criminal Defense Group’’ should be preferred. Such phrasing of the names will help your potential customers in easily finding your firm online. Consider these points also:
Have keywords in the firm’s name for Search Engine Optimization value
Find unique name. Type a proposed name into Google and see how many similar names show up in the result. Go on discarding such names until you find a unique name related to your area of practice.
3. Plan In Advance
You should be prepared to work hard. Make sure that when starting law firm, everything goes according to the plan. This means that you must chalk out a detailed business and marketing in advance at the planning stage.
As an attorney, know competitive advantages of your firm, mission statement, financials, market analysis, etc. The cost of starting own law firm and the earnings required to break even should also be in your mind.
4 Create A Website
Not all of your potential clients will come to your physical address of the law firm directly. Many of them will first locate your firm online. For that reason, create a professional website that has all the information about your law firm.
Make sure that the law firm website design is user-friendly. The color scheme, typefaces, images, etc elements will speak volumes about your business and profession.
Moreover, optimize the website for better search results online so that your clients can find out your services quickly on Google.
Create a nice logo also for your law firm. The logo is not just a symbolic representation of your services. More than that, it speaks about your values and honest practice. Follow these five tips for designing law firm logos.
5. Focus On Your Expertise
Do not make the mistake of taking up all type of cases that come your way. You will end up being nowhere. A better tactic is to settle for a niche that you are most interested in. For example, you niche may be to fight the criminal cases or divorce cases. Or, you may be more interested in dealing cases from financial sector.
By picking your niche, based on your expertise, you will avoid being competitors to everyone. Only a particular smaller set of lawyers from your field of expertise will be your competitors. This way, you can build a referral network easily.
6. Pick A Physical Address Carefully
Your law firm’s physical address should be permanent. It is crucial factor in determining the success of your law practice. Nowadays, Google Places will identify the physical address to locate your law firm. So, pick the address carefully. Do not move the address frequently as it may adversely affect your internet marketing efforts, which is crucial to finding your law firm online.
Ideally, choose a address where your firm can stay for many years. Make sure that the search engines can find the address easily. So, if your firm is in a larger building, map the office in the Google Maps for the search engines.
7. Build A Network
Where will you get your clients? Since, your experience as a law practitioner is very little, you may not be known to many lawyers and other aspects of the service. So, know the practicing lawyers of your area and befriend them. As you meet them very often, you will ultimately know where to get your first clients. Many of the experienced lawyers will be glad to help you.
8. Join A Listserv
One of the ways to be familiar with the conditions is to join a lawyer association in your area. For example, the California Employment Lawyers Association is a group of lawyers who help in settling the workplace disputes of the employees. Such associations have a listserv, which is standard email list management software. It comprises of email addresses of the members.
You can get emails of the members. Similarly, personal injury lawyers of their organizations and have listserv. These email address are important when you need help from experienced lawyers. You can simply send them an email with your queries to get the answers. Here is how to use a listserv to reach new clients.
9. Enhance Your Intellectual Capabilities
Knowing the fine points of the case in hand is not sufficient for a successful law practitioner. It is also equally crucial that your character quotient is high. This implies that characters like resilience and integrity are desirable in a lawyer and new lawyers like you must adhere to some principles. Soft skills such as empathy, courtesy and diplomacy are part of intellectual capabilities that you must be building all the time. Other qualities such as punctual to the time, respond to your client’s and people promptly and paying attention to the details also are desirable for starting a law firm successfully.
10. Be Confident
You should not be worried about your lack of experience as a law practitioner. The fact is that the clients do not usually bother about your GPA, age and law reviews. They seldom enquire about your class rank and your age. Many young lawyers have plenty of clients. Focus on working hard, researching your case and honesty. Rest of the things will fall in line in time.
To conclude, starting a law firm is not a daunting task, as many believe. All you need is your confidence in your abilities and character. But make sure that your law firm name speaks for your area of expertise and it has a website, a logo and a permanent address. You should also build a referral network. Get the guidance from your seniors and soon your firm will be on the path of success.