You may be just out of law school, just finished with a stint working in government, leaving the confines of a larger law firm, or coming back to the practice after a long hiatus. In any of those scenarios, you are likely feeling trepidation of what it means for your career, and your life, to “hang out your own shingle.”
A Burden and a Blessing
Without question, starting your own law firm is a daunting, stressful proposition. There is so much to consider, so much to remember, and so much responsibility. All of those uncertainties and stressors are a large reason why people self-select and avoid going out on their own.
Yet, by the same token, starting your own firm is an exhilarating proposition. It means freedom. You can do things your way. You can create the kind of firm that is meaningful for you. You can shape your practice based on the ideals that you had when you first decided to go to law school.
It also means the potential for a very good income. If you play your cards right and make sure that your representation is forthright and of the highest quality, there is a very good chance that you will reap substantial financial rewards.
So, if you are considering “taking the leap,” then your first order of business is making a checklist of what you need to do to get everything started. That’s where we come in. In this blog we are providing you with the “Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist.”
Given that our specialty at Oamii is leveraging technology to help law firms market themselves, we have been around the block a few times with the trials and tribulations of lawyers starting their own practice. So, we have devised this “Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist” to give you the push you need.
If you would like more help with the marketing aspect of your startup firm, give us a call. You can reach out to us through our online contact form, or call us at 561-228-4111. Now, onto the Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist.
The Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist
1. The Firm Name – What’s in a Name?
You may think a firm name is so obvious that it is not worth listing. Ah, but it is. That is because you need to give your firm name some thought. You can certainly go the typical route – “The Law Offices of John Smith, Esq.” Yet, is that really the best way you want to present your brand?
More and more, law firms are moving away from the traditional and going with something more modern, and something that reveals your brand right away. For example, there is a law firm called “Lawcraft,” and another called “Music Tech Law.” Check with your jurisdiction’s ethics rules and see how much flexibility you have with your name. It is something that will be with you for a long time, so make sure you like your name.
2. Office or Virtual
You need to consider whether you want an actual office, or whether you can work as a virtual law firm. It is not uncommon to begin your own firm from out of your home. But, at some point, you will want to meet with clients in a place that impresses them. Think about your timeline for when you may want to begin renting office space. Share with another solo attorney – saves on costs.
3. Licenses and ID Numbers
You will most likely need a federal Employer ID Number (EIN). So, get the process started on that. In addition, you will have to check with your jurisdiction to find out how law firms are formed (and what corporate form you may want to take) given the rules in your State.
4. Office Equipment and Supplies
Yes, you probably already have your laptop on the ready but remember you are opening an office. That requires a little capital investment. You need a telephone system, and perhaps an answering service. You need printers, scanners, copiers, and maybe a fax machine for those old-school courthouses that still don’t scan things.
While you may be able to handle all the paperwork of billing, filing, and answering phones, you may quickly realize that you need help. So, start thinking now about what kind of administrative support you need.
6. Legal Resources
Electronic resources like Westlaw or Lexis are ideal for the new law firm. Also, make a note where the nearest law library is, in case you need to some book research.
7. Financial Matters
You need an attorney trust account. You also need to have a law firm budget. Start getting into the mindset that you will be a business owner. Having a business budget is part of that.
You must get malpractice insurance. There is a very good chance that when you are just starting out as a solo, the premiums will not be outrageous. To find out what insurance can work for you, you may want to begin by asking your local bar association.
This final item on the checklist is in ALL CAPS because it is vital. If no one knows that you are open for business, then you may as well avoid doing any of the other items on this checklist. Marketing is necessary because that brings in the work.
Of course, if you want to get a leg up quickly with building your book of business, then consider a digital marketing agency for law firms like Oamii.
Just Starting Out? Get Help from the Pros – Call Us at Oamii
As a business owner, you’re always looking for new and innovative ways to increase traffic to your website which translates into sales. Before doing so, you must first understand that the majority of potential clients on the internet don’t look past the first page of search engines. You’re missing out on a lot of potential revenue if you’re not where people are looking. That’s where we come in. Oamii is the leader of search engine optimization in West Palm Beach.
Oamii understands the importance of SEO services and we dedicate ourselves to optimizing your web pages to deliver quality content to bring in new business. We have the tools and the team to make sure that your webpage and your business is not only top-of-mind, but also top-of-search engine!
When you invest in advertising, you want to work with an agency that brings your law firm the best results. You want to get the most out of your advertising budget and get the best return on investment. We at Oamii provide quality products and services to our clients while keeping their best interests in mind. Our deliverables are always provided on schedule, budget, and scope.
We have efficient digital marketing systems in place with clearly set goals and expectations. We encourage continuous improvement which in turn improves your bottom line.
You have a choice with your marketing dollars and resources. If you want to increase your marketing reach with the help of an experienced, professional, digital marketing agency, look no farther than Oamii to crack the code on how to improve your marketing game. We welcome you to contact us at Oamii to help you marketing your law firm and build your book of business. Please fill out our online contact form, or call us at 561-228-4111 today.