Top Tips For Starting Your Own Law Firm

Starting a business can be a fun and exciting time for any entrepreneur, but when you are thinking of starting your own law firm, you normally have to plan things a little different to most other businesses.

If you are thinking of setting up in business to offer your expert legal knowledge and assistance to individuals and organisations, it is imperative that you do things right the first time, as it can often be near-impossible to correct any big mistakes when you start up!

Check out the following top tips to starting your own law firm!

Make sure you put enough time into your planning

The last thing you want to do is rush the opening of your new law firm. Why? Because there will be a high probability that you forget to do something (especially something important), or you do something that you are not supposed to!

Set up an online presence before you launch

Considering that we live in such a switched-on age where people are glued to their smartphones, tablets or computers, you would be mad not to ensure that your new law firm has an online presence!

There are several key factors that you need to take into account when opening up your “online” office:

  • Website - the first thing you need to do is set up your own website so that your new and existing clients have a way of contacting you through the World Wide Web. But don’t design the website yourself, pay a professional to do it for you. After all, you wouldn’t ask your office cleaner for legal advice, would you? In other words, stick to what you know and let the experts take care of the stuff you don’t;
  • Social media - you would be surprised by the number of law firms that have active social media accounts on services such as Facebook and Twitter. These online services enable your client base to better engage with you and vice-versa, because they provide a mutually-convenient platform for any questions or subjects to be raised without the need for a fully-fledged telephone or email conversation;
  • Online marketing - once you have your website and social media accounts set up, it is essential that you have a plan of action regarding your online marketing strategies. An individual or firm that designs your website will usually be able to point you in the direction of an online marketing firm that can help you get your marketing campaigns off the ground and show you where you need to focus your attention.

Keep your overheads low

It goes without saying that when you start up any business, regardless of whether it is a law firm or not, you need to keep your overheads low.

By keeping your overheads low, you can make the most amount of money from your work without having to keep a large chunk of your turnover to pay for things like expensive office leases, employees, water cooler hire and so forth.

I have personally lost count of the number of law firms that have gone belly-up after just a few months because they went a bit wild with their spending and expenses, and the partners of these firms have had to admit defeat and go work for somebody else!

Here are some ways that you can dramatically reduce your overheads:

  • Don’t have an office - I know that sounds crazy, right? The thing is, you could operate from your own home and have a virtual office. In a nutshell, virtual offices are mailing addresses where the providers forward on any post to you. But the great thing is that most offer other services such as meeting room hire, which is great for seeing clients that you don’t want to invite to your home;
  • Don’t have a phone line - the Internet comes to our rescue again! Presumably you will have either a personal landline or mobile phone. What you can do is have a telephone number that is diverted to your personal line, and you only pay for the cost of any calls received (in some instances you don’t have to pay a penny);
  • Don’t have a receptionist - if you get yourself a “virtual assistant”, they will deal with your telephone calls, post and emails, and process these incoming communications according to your requirements. Now you don’t have to worry about meeting a client or going to court and simultaneously dealing with enquiries from potential clients!
Obviously as your law firm grows you will doubtless need to have a “proper” office and employ some staff, but for now, outsource what you can to save on cost!

Do your research online to save costs

You will almost certainly need to do research for some cases. Rather than wasting time and money buying books from local firms, see what you can find out on the World Wide Web for free!

And if you do need to buy some books for research purposes, look online to check for cheaper retailers; for example, I found my books here when I first started my law firm, and they were considerably cheaper than from my nearest local retailer!

Google also has a great search facility to help you locate the right books that you need as well, because many of the titles that you can search for using their website have some content scanned in online.

Don’t bother with print advertising

The thing about the Internet is that most people would rather use their smartphone, tablet or computer to find a law firm than go through their local newspaper.

Like with many other law firms, when I first started out I spent a lot of money on newspaper advertising, and my return on investment was pretty low in comparison to online advertising, such as pay-per-click and organic advertising.

Even the Yellow Pages is hardly used by people anymore. To illustrate the point I am making; my local Yellow Pages book is now about a fifth of the size it used to be 10 years ago!

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