First things first. To build your law firm business from scratch, you need to know what type of law you want to practice and why. This will help you decide which areas to specialize in and which clients best suit your services. You’ve got a great idea for a new law firm, but you need to figure out how to get it off the ground. Here’s how to get started.
1. Choose a Niche
No matter what type of legal practice you’re launching, you need to narrow your focus. For example, is your goal to provide general counsel services? Or do you want to focus on one area, such as medical malpractice or family law?
Even if you have a broad practice area in mind, like criminal defense or business litigation, there are still ways to narrow down the scope of your work so that it’s more manageable and helps build your reputation quickly. For instance, if you want to be known as the best injury lawyer around, ensure all of your clients are people who need your help in recovering compensation for their losses in auto accidents, product liability cases, slip and falls, etc. — and don’t take any other types of cases during those first few years in business.
2. Decide On a Name for Your Law Firm
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the early stages of starting your law practice. Your firm’s name should reflect your actions and how you want to be perceived. It should also be easy to remember and easy to spell.
If you’re just starting out, it’s best to use something other than your name as the firm name. This can cause confusion if multiple attorneys are practicing under that name or if the attorney leaves the firm (which happens more often than you might think).
3. Pick a Location That’s Convenient for Clients
Even if it’s slightly more expensive or farther away, don’t sacrifice convenience for price. You want your clients to enjoy coming into your office and dealing with you — so they’ll be more likely to return again and again.
Don’t choose an office in an unsafe neighborhood or one that looks unprofessional. It’s important that your clients feel comfortable coming into your office, so if the building looks run-down outside, it can make them feel uneasy. It’s important that they know they’re not in danger when visiting you, so only pick a location that looks professional and respectable enough for them to feel safe while they’re there.
4. Gather the Tools You Need
After choosing the right location for your office, it’s time to gather the necessary tools. You’ll need professional business cards, letterhead with your name and contact information, and other marketing materials to help potential clients find out about your services. Make sure everything is printed on quality paper, so it looks professional from every angle. Finally, don’t forget about building an outstanding online presence!
5. Develop a Website and Build an Email List
One of the first things prospective clients will do when they’re looking for a lawyer is search online, so it’s important that your firm has an online presence and that prospective clients can find information about your practice easily. This will help you grow your law firm. If you don’t have an existing website, hire someone to create one for you using templates from WordPress or Squarespace.
Once you have a website, ensure all its pages are optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). This means that when someone searches Google or Bing for certain keywords related to your area of expertise, your site will appear high in the rankings — usually on the first page of results or above — making it easier for people looking for legal help to get you.
6. Network with Other Lawyers and Professionals In Your Area
This is one of the best ways to find new clients for your firm since these contacts can refer people who need legal services to you. The more connections you have, the more likely someone will recommend you when they need a lawyer. You should attend local and regional meetings, events, and conventions where you can network with other professionals in your field.
Before considering opening your own legal practice, set reasonable objectives for your practice’s budgeting, marketing, hiring, revenue forecasting, legal technology, custom software implementations, and other areas, then work to meet those objectives.
Although the legal sector has undergone tremendous change over the past 20 years, regardless of the decade, the essential requirements for starting a law practice are virtually the same.