How to Start Your Own Law Firm and Grow It

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Some folks just weren't cut out for the regular 9-to-5 grind. They weren't made to be working for somebody. Instead, these people are entrepreneurs. They'll never be happy unless they start their own business and become their own boss.

If this resonates with you at all, and you have experience in the legal field, then it could be that your gut is telling you that it's time to start your own law firm.

And don't be scared if you think you don't yet know how to start your own law firm. The basic steps of starting a law firm are very simple and won't take you but a little while to absorb.

In this article, we'll go over a quick guide of what you need to do as you start this new life adventure of opening your own law firm.

Get Your Legal Structure Squared Away

The first thing to do is to ensure that your business is able to operate within a legal structure. If your specialization in law encompasses business law, then there's no doubt that you're already familiar with the various legal structures that a business can take on.

But if you're not yet familiar with these legal structures, we've got a quick guide here.

A limited liability corporation, or LLC, is a type of corporation wherein the owners do not have any personal liability. So if things go underwater (knock on wood that they don't!), your personal assets will be protected.

A C corporation is what most of the large multinational conglomerates that you know and love are registered as. The disadvantage with a C corp is that it is subject to a double tax — the income of the business is taxed, and then the income is taxed again at the personal level when divvied out to the owners.

An S corporation, or subchapter corporation, operates as a subsidiary of a larger corporation. The benefit of an S corp is that it isn't subject to the same double tax as a C corporation is.

Lastly, you can also choose to register your business as a partnership. In a general partnership, all partners assume a level of liability, whereas with a limited partnership the limited partners do not assume personal liability. 

Bring Your Network With You

When starting any business, the most significant obstacle to success is getting clients and having a sustainable customer base. The best way to ensure that you get a good start is to bring your own network with you.

When you leave whatever law firm you're currently working at to start your own, make sure that you don't burn any bridges with your current clients. If you didn't sign any legal documents that disallow poaching clients, then you could even see if your clients want to stay with you and move to become customers of your law firm.

Hire Exemplary Staff

Any business owner will tell you that the most important part of maintaining a business's operations is hiring the right people. The right people can elevate an organization and quickly grow your law firm into a massive powerhouse in the industry.

The wrong people, on the other hand, can torpedo your growth and plummet your firm into the invisible sea of lukewarm competition. Thus, it's absolutely crucial that you spend the amount of time and effort necessary to find and hire the right people.

The best way to get started with your personnel is to reach out to colleagues that you've worked with in the past to see if they'd be interested in joining this venture for you as a partner of the new law firm. If they have a similar personality to you, there's a good chance that they are tired of working for someone else as well.

If they aren't available, ask them for referrals. See if they know anyone who might be a good fit.

Head to the nearest local law institution to hire good talent at the entry-level when you need it.

Equip Your Office

Every good law firm needs a great office to wow prospective clients and employees. Make sure that you equip your office with everything that your employees need to do their work well, from standing desks to high-speed Shentel Business Fiber.

The important thing when picking out the right office space is simple: location. Any good real estate agent will tell you that when it comes to office space, the three most important criteria are location, location, and location. 

Market Your Law Firm

Last but not least, you need to be marketing your law firm in order to reap the benefits of working for yourself. Bringing your network and your new employees' networks into the business will only go so far. At a certain point, you'll have to look outside to bring in new business to sustain your bottom line.

There are a ton of different marketing strategies that law firms can employ. One good strategy is to work out partnerships with complementary services in your industry so that you can get referrals from those partners.

Another good strategy is advertising, using billboards or television commercials. 

You can also consider going with the Internet marketing route. Build out a website and employ search engine optimization tactics in order to rank highly in Google search listings for certain keywords that would-be clients might be searching for. They'll search for those keywords, click on your website, and in a few short moments will be submitting a contact form to get a quote on your services.

How to Start Your Own Law Firm, Made Simple

There you have it — all the information that you need to know on how to start your own law firm. Broken down into these little steps, starting a law firm isn't nearly as daunting of a prospect as you had originally thought, is it? 

Good luck starting your legal practice! Visit our Law section for more strategic articles on running a law firm or other legal business.

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