If you have decided to open your own solo law practice, you need to be aware of all the obstacles and challenges that will come your way. Your law firm needs to attract potential clients from a group of similar firms, so how you promote your law expertise will be the driving factor in how successful your company is. While the thought of starting a law practice alone may be daunting, there are a few key pieces of advice that will help you along the way. Read on to find out more.
Find a Great Location
Where you house your law firm office can make a huge difference when it comes to securing clients. You will want your clients to be impressed with your law practice from the get-go, so make sure that you find a location and building that has all the facilities you need. Before you sign on the dotted line, have a look at rival law firms in the area, as the last thing you want is to be located close by, otherwise clients may look elsewhere for their services.
Know Your Running Costs
When it comes to knowing your running costs, it’s crucial that you have a budget in place and know the different ways to save money. Finding the right office space, purchasing efficient office equipment, and keeping tabs on your energy consumption can all help to keep costs down. See if it is worth buying office furniture second-hand; often you can find great deals from a recently closed down business, or from sites like eBay. You can also compare business electricity prices on websites like Utility Bidder to help you find the best deal when it comes to sorting out your utilities.
Create a Dedicated Website
It can be hard to be taken seriously when going it alone as a lawyer, therefore, it’s important that you create a professional website that lists your credentials and what you have to offer. Clients need to be able to easily navigate through your website, so make sure that your site is user-friendly. Also, make sure to include the latest developments in the law field so customers can get a better idea of what you specialize in and how you can help.
Promote Your Practice
Before you launch your solo law practice, you need to know how to market and promote your brand. Spreading awareness of your practice is crucial, so taking to the internet and creating a business page on Facebook should be your first port of call. Displaying your abilities as a lawyer will help get you noticed and increase your client base.
Create a Business Plan
While looking at start-up and ongoing costs is a good idea, it’s also relevant to have a business plan drawn up too. The idea with a business plan is not just to physically have the document to show relevant parties should they ask to see one, but there’s also a secondary benefit that’s often overlooked.
Taking the time to figure out the income and expenses – especially where clients will come from and how repeat business will factor into the planning – is a vital step. When things like this remain in your head and not down on paper, it’s difficult to see faulty logic being used. However, when it’s down on paper, spotting flawed thinking is easier both for you and anyone looking over the document as a second pair of eyes.
Be Prepared for the Paperwork, Requirements & Time Involved
There are financial, regulatory and management considerations when starting a new law firm.
The SRA have their Firm Authorisation Application FA1 form which makes it immediately clear about the seriousness of the decision. Similarly, the Law Society also have a bearing on the issue when it comes to both compliance and risk for solicitors and new firms.
Solicitors looking to start their own law firm are smart to read through the SRA Practice Framework Rules along with the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 which broadly cover the necessary points. Anything else, and the Law Society fill in many of the gaps. The information especially from the SRA is trimmed down substantially compared to a few years ago, which is the good news.
Finding a prime location for your law firm office, knowing your daily running costs, creating a dedicated website that helps clients understand the types of services you deliver, as well as knowing how to promote your practice are just a few key tips when it comes to starting a solo law practice. Let us know how you get on!