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What to Know Before Starting Your Own Law Firm

What to Know Before Starting Your Own Law Firm

Whether you are currently a lawyer or want to enter the profession, you might have considered starting your own firm. You might like the idea of being your own boss, or you might want a bit more flexibility. In that case, you might want to launch your new firm—especially since going solo does not require that much commitment.

Getting an Education

Before you can own a legal practice, you need to attend law school to gain the foundation for your skills. It is often a good idea to take out a student loan to cover the costs of attending school since graduate law degrees can be expensive. Think about how you will pay off the debt afterward as well. For example, you might utilize a budget based repayment plan, ensuring you can make timely repayments.

You might also consider waiting a while after law school graduation before opening a firm so you can learn the ropes of the industry. You need to be able to deliver what you offer your clients, and that might not be possible right after graduation. Focus on developing employable skills. It is also a good idea to gain some general business skills since you will need to be able to run the firm. You can expect to spend a lot of time doing non-law work. At the beginning, you will also need to focus on bringing in new clients and other relevant work.

Understanding the Math

You will want to consider your financial situation before starting the organization. For example, what is the lowest you can make from the firm and still be able to pay for living expenses? List out all your expenses, whether business or personal. Then try to cut out extra expenses. Once you determine how much you need to live off of, consider what your hourly rate will be and determine if you can bring in that much business.

Creating a Website

Even if you start a small firm, you will still need to have a website. It does not need to be fancy. The amount of time you put into designing it will depend on the practice. For example, an immigration lawyer would need a different site than a family law attorney. Still, no matter your area of expertise, the first impression matters, so it is important to ensure that it’s positive. If you have never designed a site before, you do not need to make it too complicated. There are a lot of templates out there, as well as hosting services that all have reasonable prices. You can choose from a range of fonts, pictures, and templates.

Consider the physical aspects of the practice as well. For example, perhaps you want to get professionally designed letterhead. Or you might want to have a logo designed so you can make your website, letterhead, and other marketing materials go together. No matter your strategy, it is important to ensure it looks professional and sends the right message when it is done.

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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.