Setting up your own law firm is a major step, and you want to make every effort to ensure it succeeds. While in many ways establishing a law firm is similar to setting up any business, there are also special concerns to consider. To give your fledgling firm the best chance of success, below are four essential actions to take when you are first setting up your firm.
Set up the Business
Starting a law firm is just like setting up any other business. You will need to decide, perhaps with the assistance of an attorney more knowledgeable in business law, what organizational structure is best for your firm. Many law firms, for example, are LLCs or partnerships. You will likely need to set up an Employer Identification Number and obtain a rough understanding of your tax burden so the appropriate amount of money is set aside.
Set up the Office
Searching for a physical location for your office should be the first step, but also consider a virtual law office if you are starting solo. Once you have a professional office space, your next step is to purchase or rent necessary equipment, such as a copier, computers, a telephone system and all relevant software. This should also include a website and personalized e-mail addresses for you and your staff.
Hire a Staff
You will need a staff, no matter how small, to run your law firm. Trying to do everything yourself can prevent you from focusing on your cases and your clients, which can prevent your firm from growing. You will have to decide how many employees you will need and in what roles. At the beginning, just one or two employees—a legal secretary and perhaps a paralegal—will likely be all you need. As your firm grows, you will need to look at hiring additional staff, and perhaps additional attorneys.
Your law firm will not remain in business very long without clients. Law firms have many more restrictions placed on their marketing activities than other types of businesses do, so it’s critically important that you do not run afoul of any legal ethics in your marketing. For example, you cannot cold call potential clients or make false assurances. There are marketing firms that specifically work with law offices, like The Rainmaker Institute, and will take your special considerations into account.
Setting up a law firm correctly takes some time and effort. With the right foundation, however, your firm can grow and prosper. Be sure to take these steps to get your firm off to the best start.
Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +