Establishing a law firm is a great opportunity for you to practice your profession and help those who need your services. Those are the two main objectives that a large percentage of lawyers have when starting their own law firms. However, regardless of how much you want to help people, you must also be looking at the business side of your firm. You need money to finance your lifestyle and cater to your law firm’s operating expenses.
This means that if you offer your services for free, the most obvious result is that your company will shut down within a few weeks. Additionally, starting a law firm requires substantial capital, which must be recovered as you serve your clients. This article will get deeper into a law firm’s business side and expound more on starting a law firm checklist.
Benefits of Owning a Law Firm Business
If you are a lawyer, you might think that working for someone else in their firm is the only option you have. You get a good salary, there is not much hassle about getting clients, and you get all the help you need whenever you need it. However, have you ever thought about how it would benefit you to be your own boss in your law firm? Here are some of the benefits of owning a law company.
The Profits Are All Yours
When you are in control of a law firm, the business side of it is that you get to keep all the money you make from your clients. The people you offer your services to either pay cash or make a direct transfer to your bank account. Unlike working in an organization, having your own firm allows you to decide whatever percentage of your clients’ billings you can take to pay yourself. However, you should also ensure that there is enough money left to satisfy all the other organizational and personal financial needs.
You Pick your Team
As the law firm owner, you are in control of all the departments, including human resources. The best thing about that is that you are in control of the talent that you bring aboard. You can decide to hire whoever falls within your class of qualified personnel, including a tax accountant. Moreover, you have the freedom to decide how big your staff base will be. It is, however, advisable not to skimp on your employees. Ensure that your budget can cater to all the individuals you deem important in your company.
Freedom to Pick Cases
One of the most conspicuous benefits of owning a law firm is the freedom you get to pick which cases to work on. This is unlike when working under someone, because the case assigned to you is the one you will deal with, regardless of how it affects you. As a law company owner, you have the jurisdiction to specialize in some types of cases. For instance, you can decide that your firm will be offering legal knowledge in cases that involve fraud and theft in companies. However, you must be aware that being so specific in such a business can make you lose a lot of clients. Alternatively, you can focus on hiring individuals who specialize in different legal matters. That will help your firm serve different clients, regardless of the nature of their case.
Customized Office Culture and Reputation
As the company’s director, you will have the freedom to set the rules and regulations that all the employees should follow. Additionally, you get to focus on cultivating a positive reputation among the clients you serve because you want them to come back. This, unlike when you are employed, you just handle any client assigned to you, and the opportunities for creating business relationships are very slim. You have the freedom to dictate what kind of attire will be worn in your office, may it be formal and button-down suits or casual jeans. You can also decide the opening and closing hours and the holidays of your choice. As an attorney, the culture in your law firm starts and ends with you.
Choose Your Convenient Working Place
The covid-19 pandemic is here. Some people who were employed in large law firms have lost their jobs. However, if you own your own law company, it means that you can continue offering your services from any place without the threat of losing your job. Moreover, you can choose to work from home or have your office space close to your residential premises. However, if you want to get better opportunities to attract clients and be closer to your competitors, then you can opt for a space near or in the courthouse vicinity. It is upon you to decide where you want to work from and how convenient it is for you.
Understand the Clients Better
The most probable thing is that you will help business people understand their legal rights and responsibilities as you offer your legal services. This is a great chance for you to understand all the risks and stress that are involved in running your own business. For instance, when a client wants you to solve an issue regarding their employees, it gives you a clearer glimpse of how to handle such a situation, especially when looking at the business side of your law firm. Understanding the clients’ needs better helps you represent them to the best of your ability, consequently helping you create long-lasting relationships.
Starting a Law Firm Checklist
Starting a law firm is no different than starting a normal business. All the procedures and protocols observed in starting a law firm are the same as those you would follow when starting a manufacturing company or a barbershop. Most students who graduate from law school have long-term plans for their careers, and starting a law company is one of the most common goals.
After all, who would not want their names to appear on an appealing plaque on the door, not to mention all the benefits that come with running your own company? Nevertheless, sticking to starting a law firm checklist is more than renting an office space and indulging in custom business card design. Here are some of the things that need to always be in your mind;
Have a Business Plan and Stick to it
Like any other business, the first item on your starting a law firm checklist should have a sturdy and well-defined plan. Having such a plan involves laying out clear marketing strategies, coming up with mission and vision statements, planning the financials, and understanding your firm’s competitive edge. If you are low on finances, your business plan can help you determine how much you can acquire in terms of business loans.
Moreover, you will be required to make projections on the future of your business and have achievable goals and objectives in place. A good business plan will help you establish your firm’s purpose, analyze the current market, and get a rough idea of your expected profits. It is also a great tool when it comes to understanding the startup and monthly budgets. Besides understanding the market better, a business plan will guide you on how to budget for the firm’s operating costs for the first three months.
Gather Business Skills
The second and most important item in starting a law firm checklist is gaining business skills. As much as your law firm will be focusing on solving legal matters, as the owner, you need to possess some important business skills besides the legal knowledge you acquired from law school. Your schedule might be tight, and registering for a course in a business school may be next to impossible. However, the internet offers a lot of platforms that allow you to undertake online courses at the comfort of your home or office. Some amazing and legit online schools are ready to enroll you, take you through the course, and give you the necessary certificate.
The main objective of acquiring such business skills is to help you manage your law firm better as a company. You need to know about essential aspects of a business, such as acquiring business insurance, running the internal systems, and creating client relations. Additionally, having business skills is the very first step to better financial management in your organization.
Be Ready to Juggle Roles
This is a crucial point that should never lack in your starting a law firm checklist. When working for a law firm, your main focus is on the cases presented to you by the firm’s clients. On the flip side, things are different when running your own firm, because you serve as both an attorney and a business person. Therefore, the concept of role juggling should be in your starting a law firm checklist because if one side goes haywire, then it can adversely affect the other.
As much as you will be focusing on the cases at hand, you must also find time for everything else, including the human resource department, accounting, and finance. The most obvious fact is that you cannot run the entire firm alone- you need to hire the necessary staff. However, since you are the head of the organization, you should have leadership skills to help you monitor each of the employees to ensure they are working accordingly.
State Your Specialization
The next item on your starting a law firm checklist should be telling people what exactly you will be specializing in. The law field is quite extensive, and the biggest decision you will have to make is which part of this industry you will be focusing on. As a new law firm owner, it is best to start with the well-experienced areas; otherwise, your company may tumble down.
If you are experienced in criminal law, then that would be a great starting point. Experts advise specializing and doing well in a few things in such a profession rather than stretching yourself too thin. However, as your firm and your clientele grow, you might see the need to hire other lawyers specializing in other areas to help round off your staff.
Create a Network
Businesses do well through networking and creating long-term relationships with clients, partners, and other stakeholders in the industry. Networking is a technique that allows you to understand your competitors and attract more clients to your firm. Talk to the lawyers in your locality, understand how they work, know which area of the industry has significant demand, and curate ways to attract new clients.
Fortunately, networking today has been made easier by advancements in technology. Computer networking allows you to connect with people from different areas, some of whom are not even in your country of residence.
Select an Ideal Location
The success of your law firm business largely depends on how strategically you position your office. It is advisable to conduct detailed due diligence on different locations and office spaces before making your final decision. For instance, many business owners today face some challenges in deciding whether to buy or lease office space.
Weighing your capabilities, financial status, and plans will help you make an informed decision about the location of your company and whether to buy or lease the property. Once the office is set up, you can now indulge in acquiring the necessary equipment, furniture, and supplies. You should also consider making the office suit your needs, for instance by renovating business lighting.
Starting a law firm checklist should have precise information, as discussed above. There is so much at stake when starting your own law firm. However, if you do it right by following this article’s information, you can be guaranteed success in that field. You have also learned about all the benefits of having your own law company, but they can be generalized into one statement: you become your own boss.
One of the items on your starting a law firm checklist you should focus on is acquiring business skills. These are the skills that will come in handy, especially when it comes to the departments that make your firm a business. Such departments include finance, bookkeeping, human resources, and marketing.