4 Tips for Opening Your Own Law Firm
Most lawyers dream of making partner one day, rising to the very top of their workplace and setting the standard for other attorneys. But climbing the corporate ladder isn’t easy, and it might take you in directions you don’t want to go.
An alternative solution is starting your own law firm practice and building it from the ground up. You’ll have the freedom to take whatever cases you want and won’t have to answer to managing partners.
However, not all law firms are successful. There’s a lot that goes into both planning and running a successful firm, and keeping it organized is a challenge. Many law firms make classic mistakes that put them out of business.
As you start your law firm, keep your eye on the prize. Success is within your reach, even in a competitive environment. It simply takes determination and application of the right steps.
Square Away the Details
One of the first steps, before applying for a business license or marketing your services, is figuring out the details of your law firm. Start by choosing your specialty. You’ll have a difficult time standing out if you don’t have a niche. Choose something that you’re passionate about, but that also fulfills a need in your current market.
Next, decide if you’re going into business with someone else. You might not want to give up half of your company, but law firms that partner up are more likely to maintain clients and seem credible.
You’ll also want a strong name that will act as your brand. Most attorneys use a combination of their names and the type of law they perform. For example, you might call it Hardy, Johnson, & Associates Personal Injury Group. That way, people know both who’s running the show and what services they offer.
You’ll also want a place to do business. Find an office space in a busy part of town to get more foot traffic.
Build a Website
Did you know that 40 percent of small law firms don’t have a website? That’s a large contributing factor to their demise. Law is a highly competitive industry, and a website allows you to remain competitive. With 97 percent of customers searching online for local businesses, you don’t want to miss out on that kind of traffic.
A good law website will be simple, but professional. The layout won’t be cluttered with random images and links, but will include well-designed buttons, high quality content, Google Maps integration, address and contact information, and a streamlined design. For a great example of a law firm website, check out this one.
It’s okay to start out with a free template with minimal features. The point is to get your law firm on the internet where people can see you. As your business grows and you can afford more, investigate premium themes with more capabilities and better conversion rates.
Keep Costs Down
It’s true that attorneys have a high hourly wage, but it will take a while to build a steady stream of clients and see consistent revenue. For that reason, keep your monthly overhead as low as possible.
Don’t try to copy larger law firms. They have a lot more money to throw around on things like staff, location upgrades, office amenities, marketing services, and more.
While you want adequate insurance and amenities to appeal to a higher level of clientele, keep things simple at first. You can always incorporate more high-class features as your law firm grows. When you have a bad month, you’ll be grateful that you don’t have hefty overhead expenses to deal with.
Marketing is essential to growing your clientele, but it can easily get out of hand. You could spend several thousand per month on exterior marketing, and keeping this service in-house is a great way to maintain lower costs.
Social media is a highly effective form of marketing that’s affordable and easy to learn. You can create low-cost, but effective advertisements on Facebook and maintain a strong presence for your loyal following.
You should also take advantage of blogging. It has a multi-pronged benefit for your marketing purposes because it tells your customers about your services while raising your search rankings. The more high-quality content you have, the higher your website will rank over competitors.
You can also take advantage of print advertisements like flyers posted around town, newspaper advertisements, and mailers. These are relatively low-cost marketing methods that can spread the word about your law firm without putting you in the red.
Starting a successful law firm is challenging in today’s over-crowded market, but if you have the talent and drive to make it work, you can enjoy greater freedoms and a healthier lifestyle as a result.