Checklist of Things to Do When Starting Your Own Law Firm
Starting your own law firm is a chance to use your legal skills to help others, without having to answer to a boss. But starting your own firm is a complicated process. Use this checklist to learn what you need to do, buy and consider when starting a legal firm.
Starting your own law firm can be a daunting and complicated process. But, it'll be like this only if you don't do it the right way.
Maybe you just passed the Bar Exam, and you want to get your hands dirty. Or you might've been at your current law firm for a while and, want to help others without jumping through so many hoops like you currently have to. Don't know where to start?
We have you covered. We'll give you a checklist that will point you in the right direction.
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Starting Your Own Law Firm: Where to Start?
When you start your own law offices, they'll be like your baby. But, like any newborn, they require the utmost care and dedication. So when you start your own law office, you've to go big or go home and make sure you do it right.
Here's a checklist that will point you in the right direction:
1. Decide Your Practice Area
When you're just starting to get your hands dirty, you must've practiced during your internship or other jobs an area of law you like a lot. If you've been in a law firm for a while, you must have a practice area of expertise.
Maybe you hadn't been able to dedicate all your time to this type of cases before. Now is the right time to go for it. What's there to lose?
So when you start your own law firm, try to go niche into a practice area you like. You are the one calling the shots now, so make the best out of it!
2. Ignore the Naysayers
Like when you establish any business, there will be many people who will cheer you on. While there will be others who will tell you that you're crazy. Establishing your own law firm has an entrepreneurial vibe, so you'll have to ignore the many naysayers who will come your way.
You'll need to be laser-focused on what you want to accomplish as a solo practitioner and, ignore the noise. You'll have to do this because this is a ride or die situation there's no safety net. So go all in or go home!
3. Get in the Game for the Right Reasons
Here is where many people fall short. If you went to law school and passed the Bar thinking you would become rich. Then here comes the bad news, you got in the game for the wrong reasons.
Being a lawyer is about much more than that. It's about helping people with their problems and, making the world a better place. If you only focus on the money, you're set for failure.
Another thing is when people want to be a solo practitioner because they want to get the big check the law firm is getting. Here comes the bad news for you, having your own law office won't guarantee that you'll get the big paycheck.
Usually, it takes years for solo practitioners to get the big checks because this requires time and reputation. This last one is the one you'll be developing during the first years of having your own law office.
4. Location, Location, Location
Like when you're buying a house or establishing any business, the location will be one of the keys to your success. Where you establish your office will determine what traffic will be driven to your office.
Remember you're just starting out, so even if you had been at a law firm and you can call those clients you helped. You'll need to thrive on word of mouth, customer reviews, and location.
Even when you set up a marketing budget, and get your name out there if your office isn't accessible your client won't come through the door. We both know that would be like setting yourself for failure, and you haven't come this far to die in the trenches.
5. Talk to Other Solo Practitioners
Before making the jump like in anything in life, you should talk to other people who have done it. They'll be able to tell you what were the initial hurdles they had to overcome, how their lives changed, and if they like it, among others.
This could give you an idea right off the bat if being a solo practitioner is for you. Having your own law office isn't for everyone, and that's ok. So it's better for you to know before you go for it.
Some of the solo practitioners you talk to may offer to mentor you, this will be a great opportunity for a lawyer who just passed the Bar. Maybe they even agree to send you referrals, those will help a lot and get your name out there.
6. Be Ready For Change
Starting your own law office is a huge jump. It doesn't matter if you just passed the Bar or, want to get out of the law firm culture and be your own boss. This means that many changes will come your way in your life professionally and personally.
So you've to be ready for when these come around. It will be a bumpy roller coast ride for sure but totally worth it. You'll be able to pick the cases you want without having to jump through hoops to make it happen for your clients.
Another big change is that there isn't a safety net, and you probably won't have an army of paralegals to prepare for your cases. You're the owner so you'll have to do A to Z, from preparing all the documents for the case to cleaning the office.
Yes, it might not be what you expected but life isn't all rainbows and unicorns. The grind is always hard but creating something from the ground and getting all the way to the top is very satisfying.
Wrapping It Up
Starting your own law firm can be a complex process, but the rewards outweigh all the headaches. If you decide to start your law office remember to do your research, ignore the noise, set up a well-thought plan, and be ready to go through many life-changing experiences.
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