Are you recent law school graduate who isn’t sure whether you want to join an existing law firm or start your own? You’re not alone. In 2018, the American Bar Association documented that nearly 112,000 students enrolled in J.D. programs across the United States.
If even half of those students graduate as scheduled, that’s 60,000 people entering the workforce at the same time. Finding jobs in an established law firm can prove difficult with all that competition, but starting a solo law practice can be even harder.
If you plan on starting a law firm after you pass the bar, check out these 7 excellent tips for building a law practice listed below.
1. Figure Out Your Niche
The very first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of law you want to practice. Taking on a multitude of case types might seem like a great way to get more clients, but it often leaves you without any clients at all. It’s better to choose a single niche to center your practice around.
Maybe you want to fight to put criminals behind bars. Or maybe you want to help injured victims get compensation after a car crash.
Think back to what you enjoyed studying in law school and any other knowledge you possess. Use this to help you pick a niche and become an expert.
Choosing a niche narrows down your competition and makes it easier for you to stand out against them. It also helps build a referral network within your field of expertise.
2. Choose an Appropriate Name for Your Solo Law Firm
Next, once you know what kind of law you plan to practice, you need to choose an appropriate name for your solo law firm. It’s important the name reflect the types of cases you plan to take.
If you want to work on criminal cases, it’s best not to mention anything about personal injury or family law. Aim for something that combines your location with what you do like the Central Florida Criminal Defense Firm.
Try to avoid cliché names ending in “PPLC” or “and Associates.” And be sure that you do some research to see if you can include certain keywords that will improve search engine optimization. This makes it easier for potential clients to find your website.
3. Create a Detailed Business Plan with a Budget and Set Goals
Make a detailed business plan when starting a legal practice for a better chance of success. Do some research to figure out what your future competition is doing and to evaluate the market for your niche.
Your business plan should include very specific and time-sensitive goals, so you know when you’re on track. It should also contain a budget and other important financials like how much you need to earn to break even.
You can get help funding some of your first cases with the help of a litigation funding service like Pravati Capital that provides funding for lawyers.
4. Decide on a Permanent Physical Address
The address you choose for your solo law firm should be a permanent one, if possible. Most people search for a lawyer near them using the Internet. So including your address in business listings and in Google Places makes it easier for search engines to present your website when someone near you searches for a lawyer.
Avoid moving from this address for as long as possible for the best results with local search marketing. Also, if your firm is located in a large building with multiple businesses, be sure you map your exact office in Google maps, Bing, etc.
5. Build an Attractive Website
As stated above, most people in need of a lawyer search online to find one. So you need a professional website that details all the vital information about your firm and its services.
Choose a user-friendly theme that works well on both desktop and mobile. Take the time to choose your typeface, color scheme, and other visual elements that reflect your unique firm.
Learn about search engine optimization and optimize both your website and your content to appear on the correct search results pages. You should also work with a graphic designer to come up with a memorable logo to improve brand recognition.
6. Connect with Other Lawyers and Build Your Network
When you’re just starting a law firm, you won’t have much name recognition to help you get clients. Connecting with the other lawyers in your area can help you build your network and get referrals. They may also offer advice on how to find clients and how to best present your practice.
You should also join professional legal associations in your area. Not only will this connect you with other lawyers in your niche, but it also gets you access to their listserv. Use this listserv to meet fellow lawyers and discover new clients.
7. Be Confident
Finally, don’t listen to any naysayers and remain confident in your skills and your desire to start your own law firm. Most clients won’t ask you about your age or your GPA. They often won’t even ask for references from the former clients that you don’t have yet.
Simply put all your effort into working hard and performing your job to the best of your ability. If you focus on being honest and dedicated to researching your cases, everything else will fall together.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself When Starting a Law Firm
Now you should have a better idea of what it takes to start a law practice just out of law school. Establishing a business from scratch is never easy, but it’s very rewarding. While you’re focusing on starting a law firm, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.
Building a law practice can take a lot out of you. Remember to do some self-care and spend time away from thinking about your business. Head on over to the SmartHealthShop blog today for some great health tips and additional lifestyle advice to keep you feeling fresh!