How to start a Law Firm
One of the main attractions of starting your own law firm is it doesn’t require too much startup capital.
In fact, all you need for bare minimum operations is a registered business, a bank account and your time.
Now obviously if you want to build a successful law firm there is a lot more that goes into it, but with most service businesses, the majority of your startup costs are your own time.
How to make your startup firm stand out.
For startup law firms, you need to figure out how you will be different from larger firms that are more established in your practice area.
Most prospect client’s will be able to google search firms or are referred by other people.
So how will you differentiate your law firm to win over clients? Why should anyone give you their case if you don’t have much of a reputation?
Here’s how you can do it:
Most people want to be treated like a valued client. If you treat them the way you want to be treated you will be successful.
Now that you know how your will stand out from the competition, how do you get started?
Steps to Starting a Law Firm
Here is an extended list of tasks required in order to start your own law firm.
Incorporate the business
Register with your LLC or LLP with the state you will be doing business in and pay the fee to get started.
Get your EIN from the IRS
Open a business checking account
Go to your local bank and deposit some money for future business expenses.
Pick a business name and/or one liner
Naming an LLC or LLP, if you partner with another attorney, will most likely include your names. If you don’t want to go the traditional old school route of using your name, you should create a brand name around your services.
For example: The Injury Lawyers, Pot Attorneys, We Sue Everyone Attorneys, The Worker’s Attorney, etc.
If you don’t want to brand your law firm name, pick a one liner that is catchy and helps prospect clients understand your services.
For example: The business lawyers you want taking care of business.
Pick a niche
Don’t try to take on too many different types of cases. Figure out what is the most cost and time efficient for your smaller firm, and focus on this area.
Register domain name
Another opportunity to brand your law firm is picking a domain name that is easy to pronounce, and is associated with your services/firm.
For example: If you work in immigration law, VisaAttorney.org should give your prospect clients a good idea of who they are potentially working with.
Create business emails
If you want to be taken seriously you need to setup a basic email with your domain name. It let’s prospects know you are a real business.
Create a "Google My Business" listing
Building a google my business profile is free and can help you show up in google searches when prospects are searching for “attorneys/lawyers near me.” If you don’t have a GMB profile you are missing out on business.
Create social media profiles
You don’t need to be on every single social media platform but it’s good to have some online presence in case you decide to use these platforms for marketing.
Build a basic website
You don’t need to be a sophisticated programmer to build a basic website. There are plenty of website builders out there with templates for you to use and quickly build a basic site.
Even a one page website with basic information is better than nothing.
Write some content
Adding some content that is beneficial to prospect clients will help build your online domain authority when people are searching for solutions in google search.
For example: If you’ve written service agreements for painters, you can write a detailed article like “12 clauses every painting service agreement must have.”
This would be extremely valuable to a painter who is just starting and is looking for a service agreement to use.
You could even offer a downloadable template for cheap.
Bottom line is create content that focuses on your target audience and you will begin to bring in new business.
Create a retainer agreement
Unfortunately just another administrative task that you have to take care of as a startup law firm.
Make customer service a priority
As we mentioned earlier in this post, most clients want to feel like they aren’t just another number. Don’t ignore emails and send inbound calls to voicemail.
If you can’t always answer your phones, work with a quality virtual receptionist service and never miss a prospect call again.
Run your law firm like a business
You are now responsible for sales, marketing, operations, IT support, billing, customer service, and I guess practicing law.
Understand you aren’t just an attorney but all of these things mentioned above. You probably have some knowledge already about running a business but make sure you don’t miss anything else.
It may seem like a lot at first, but as you setup your systems you won’t have to worry about some of the other areas of business you don’t want to deal with.
Utilize modern technology
We live in a modern world with high performing software already built to handle your operations. Take advantage to save yourself time and money.
Here’s a list of some low cost software and services that can help you launch a professional law firm
Google Drive: Create and store documents in the cloud for free.
Calendly: Free public calendar to automate phone consultations. Stop wasting your time going back and forth in emails.
Canva: Graphics software for non graphic designers. Really great to create professional images at an extremely low cost.
Hubspot: Free CRM to manage your clients.
Square: Low cost payroll system that can also be used for invoicing and billing.
Stripe: Collect payments online. If you are a modern law firm, give your clients the ability to pay online.
Create a seamless intake process
Ask the right questions! Make sure to create a template document on the exact questions you need to be asking every client. If you start growing it’s best to have this system already in place.
If you have a contact form on your website, include questions that will give you the information you want to know about a potential client.
For example a personal injury lawyer should ask:
What type of accident occurred, what was the extent of the injury, when did the incident occur, are you able to work because of the accident, and other basic multiple choice questions.
Taking action is the key for any successful business. You are going to make mistakes and that is okay but don’t let the fear of making mistakes hold you back from getting started.
You know there is a market for your law firm, you know you can provide a better service, and you know there are tools out there to help you. Take advantage and just start!
P.S. If you need a low cost professional phone answering service, look no further than Cyber Receptionists. We answer the phone calls while you take care of business.