Starting any sort of business seems like a tough job. But starting a law firm? A tall order it may be, but it can be done. Just make sure you keep this in mind as you’re planning out your endeavor.
Never underestimate experience
Look, I don’t want to just sit here and tell you that it’s impossible to start your own law firm straight out of law school. That simply wouldn’t align with the facts – several people have done just that and found great success. But most people who start a successful law firm have a large amount of hard experience under their belt. This should probably be your focus once you leave law school. Find a good firm in the field that you’re most interested in, and get to work. The amount you can learn by doing things this way can be invaluable – after all, as many lawyers will tell you, actually doing it turns out to be quite a lot different from the way they thought it would be throughout law school.
Another reason you should probably look into getting more experience before you start your own firm: because it’ll be easier for you to raise the money that you need! It’s probably not news to you that a lawyer working for the right firm can make a tremendously good salary. If you save smartly, then you can be on your way to starting your own business with your own money. Figuring out precisely how much money you’re going to need for this is something you’ll have to do by working out a thorough business plan.
Equipment and software
Your business plan should also help you figure out what kind of equipment you’re going to need at the office of your law firm. (In fact, it’s going to help you figure out what kind of office you’re actually going to need!) A lot of people starting law firms love to go all-out. They want to make their offices look luxurious, because they think they’ll get more clients that way. Perhaps you’ll want to be a bit more practical. Make sure you have good-quality desks, chairs, and software for your legal case management, and you should be good to begin.
The area of law
Now here’s a mistake that a lot of legal startups make. They think that they’ll get the highest number of clients – and, thus, the highest potential earnings – by being a catch-all law firm. They’ll want lawyers who can handle any sort of case. Business law, family law, injury law – you name it, they want their law firm to take it on. It seems smart enough, right? Well, stop right there. The fact is that there really aren’t any law firms that do this anymore. Law firms need to specialise.
So here’s yet another reason you should be seeking experience in your chosen legal field: because it will get you connections. Networking is important for any startup, and a legal startup is definitely no exception. Get to know as many experts in your field as you can. Stay in touch with the brightest students you worked with at law school. Potential employees, advisors, and even clients can be found this way.