Stating a law firm is a complex and intricate process, made more difficult by the fact that it might take years before it sees any real tangible profit. It is because the fate of a start-up or new law firm rests on the results produced and cases won. This is where reputations are made or broken and the breakthrough successful case might take years in coming. No wonder that it is almost mandatory for the entrepreneur wanting to start a law firm to be a legal luminary by his own right. He will then be able to understand the many nuances of law when they come up before his firm.
Here are certain tips if as an entrepreneur, you want to start your own law firm and legal practice.
Plan well – The time to plan out your law firm is when you are still in your law school. Otherwise, after you pass out, you’ll only waste precious time in preparing business plans and working out marketing strategies. Plan for everything when you are still in your final year. Draw up a business plan that will include all expenses and overheads, investments in office equipment and office space. Consult senior faculty or visiting faculty to know if you are on the right track.
Financial outlay – It is always preferable to start small. Do not make a grand launch of your firm only to find that you are short on business and facing a monetary crunch. Instead if you have room to spare in your home, start there. There is no need to hire lawyers or staff right away. A researcher and an office assistant should do for a start. Buy computer systems, a scanner and printer and related software. Don’t buy the usual stock of law books – download eBooks and get going. Remember, you should have a pile of cash to keep you going for at least a few months before you can even hope to see a glimpse of returns on your investments.
Area of specialisation – Depend on your area of specialisation – you cannot possibly afford to diversify into multiple areas alone. Keep that for the times when you can expand your firm and hire people trained in different aspects of law. You can choose to be a specialist in corporate or criminal law, family law or even opt to be an exclusive property settlement lawyer. Your marketing strategy too will depend largely on what you choose to portray yourself.
Marketing strategy – For a budding entrepreneur wanting to set up a law firm, this aspect is crucial. Do not scrounge on expenses in this case. Contact a reputed digital marketing agency to design and develop a website for you and have it optimised for local searches. Do not spend on print advertising. People looking for good lawyers in their locality will first search the web before going to the yellow pages.
Set up a referral system – Go out and meet with established lawyers in your area and inform them that you have set up a law firm and request referrals. You will be particularly successful if you meet those that do not specialise in your area of law. That is where the bulk of your referrals will come from.
The most important thing is to take the plunge. Remember, if the wind goes out of your sails,, you will still have the oars to row on and be an achiever.