Opening a law firm is often the goal of entrepreneurs and legal graduates once they finish law school, due to the opportunity to be self-employed and have responsibility for your own business. However, opening a law firm is complex, with many different legal and business-related aspects which you need to consider before you find your first clients.
This guide will explain the key essentials that potential law firm owners need to create their new business and become successful.
1. Hire a Specialist Online Marketing Agency
The fact that most firms are now based online has many advantages for your law firm, and these include the ability to find clients from all over the country and to gain exposure. However, you will be unable to gain the exposure necessary for a successful law firm if you do not take steps to instill digital marketing techniques within your business plan. However, when looking to outsource to marketing agencies who can help you with a large number of different market techniques, such as SEO and content marketing, law firms should consider specialist marketing agencies which focus on legal firms.
For instance, Just Legal Marketing is a digital marketing agency with expertise particularly suited to the legal industry, with the ability to help you make a success of your website, social media, and AdWords campaigns.
2. Get the Right Licensure
Legal firms in the USA must also ensure that they have all of the right licensures before they open to clients. For instance, solicitors in America need state business licenses, and they may also need permits depending on the location of their business. You will also need a federal Employer ID Number, which identifies your business for tax purposes, and other regulations which individual states may enforce.
It is also important that you take out indemnity insurance as you will be providing advice and services to clients on a regular basis. Investing in insurance can protect both you and your clients if they find a reason to take legal action against you.
3. Install the Right Filing and Finance Software
To keep track of your finances, you should consider hiring an accountant or financial advisor who can help to forecast your cash flow, organize your profits, and prepare your accounts for the end of the tax year. However, there is also a large range of financial software which may be able to help you to do this, such as finance trackers which track your expenses and allow you to create invoices for your clients.
Lawyers also often have a vast amount of documentation which they need to keep track of, and foregoing physical filing methods for options such as the Cloud, allowing you to access data from anywhere and make sure that it is encrypted and password-protected, are all important elements in making sure your business is secure.
4. Create a Business Plan and Structure
When creating any business, but especially a legal firm, you need to create a business plan which maps out your budget, your projected cash flow, any targets and goals your business is measuring success by, and problem-solving mechanisms that you can use in an emergency. You will also need to consider the structure of your business, for instance, whether it is a limited company or limited liability partnership, which can change how it is operated.