Wondering how to start a law firm? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Advantages of Opening Your Own Law Firm
Sooner or later, most attorneys are tempted to explore the possibility of opening their own law firms. The launch of a law firm isn't easy and there are plenty of challenges that will be faced along the way -- many of which your legal training didn't equip you to address.
But there are also many benefits to opening your own law firm. Instead of working for someone else, you will be working for yourself. Billable hour quotas will be a thing of the past as you gain the ability to set your own hours and select your own clients.
You will also gain the ability to create your own brand. Branding is important because brands have real, monetary value. As your firm builds its reputation and client list, your brand value will increase and with it, the intangible asset value of your law firm.
Practical Aspects of Law Firm Ownership
Like it or not, opening a law firm will require you to deal with several practical aspects of business ownership and day-to-day management activities that you didn't have to perform as an employed attorney:
- Budgeting & Forecasting. Even though you will escape the burden of billable hours quotas from an employer, you will face constant pressure to acquire enough billable hours to meet your firm's financial requirements. Accurate budgeting and revenue forecasting are essential -- if you underestimate your law firm's operating costs, you could easily set the billable hours bar way too low.
- Client Acquisition. As an employed attorney, client acquisition wasn't one of your primary concerns. But as a law firm owner or partner, new client acquisition is one of the things that will keep you awake at night. From the beginning, you will need to develop a marketing plan that is capable of reaching target audience without exceeding the limits of your marketing budget. For ideas and resources, consider engaging with the Legal Marketing Association and similar organizations.
- Human Resources. Law firm partners are de facto heads of their firms' human resources departments. Although you may eventually employ HR personnel, it's important to familiarize yourself with HR concepts and decision-making. At a minimum, you'll need to be involved in the creation of an employee handbook describing policies and procedures for the people who work at your law form.
Best Law Firm Business Plans
If you're like most startup business owners, there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that's on your to-do list. Every task on your list is important, but writing a business plan is one of the things your law firm needs to do ASAP.
Now here's the good news: You can minimize the amount of time it takes to write a business plan by buying business plan software. A business plan software solution is an effective tool for time-strapped law firm owners who understand the importance of a great business plan.
Properly utilized, business plan software has the potential to transform your business plan from a throwaway business requirement to an integral strategic resource.
Don't Overlook Competitors
Before you open a law firm in your town, it's a smart move to find out how many competitors you have. We've provided the link below to help you generate a list of competitors nearby. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of law firms near you.
Is the local market large enough to support another law firm? If not, you had better be sure that you are doing things much better than the competition.
Talk to People Who Are Already in the Business
If you want to open a law firm it's a wise move to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think owners of nearby law firms will give you advice, think again. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
Fortunately, somebody who runs a law firm in a location that is not competitive to you will be much more likely to talk with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where can an aspiring entrepreneur like you find an entrepreneur who is running a law firm who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Competitive Benefits of Buying a Law Firm
New law firm owners have the potential to realize earlier profits and fewer headaches when they buy a a law firm instead of starting one from scratch.
A business acquisition also delivers an established brand - a big advantage in competitive markets. In fact, many entrepreneurs pursue acquisitions for the primary purpose of buying an established brand.
In a competitive market, the right acquisition can be leveraged to catapult your business into a market leadership position, even if you personally lack industry credentials.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
The odds of achieving your primary goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur are greatly increased when you opt to franchise and leverage their successful brand and track record.
Before starting a law firm, it's worthwhile to check out whether franchising might make sense for you.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
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If you sell to law firms, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. Try these resources instead:
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