Moving out and starting your own law firm is a huge step for anyone wanting to use that law degree independently and with their own control. Your reputation is on the line, but you get to reap all the fruits of your labor. It’s thrilling, scary, and it’s rewarding. But how do you make it a success?
Getting clients is the most nail-biting part of starting your own legal firm. Without the marketing apparatus of an employer, you have to build your own reach. The best way to go about it is to acknowledge that it’s a long-term game. Online marketing is going to help you build the presence you need to be found easily and to attract people with quality content and hooks that apply directly to them. But be aware that a lot of your reach is going to be built through social contacts, past work, networking, and referrals. Don’t panic if your latest online ad campaign isn’t immediately bringing you a deluge of clients. Focus on the work and build from it.
Of course, reading the above, you might be thinking about how you will pay the bills while you wait for the clients to start coming in greater volume. The key there is to diversify. Beyond waiting for clients, don’t be shy about looking at taking on contract work. A few key contracts to keep going back to can give you the stability to wait out the leaner periods.
Beyond hiring the members of your internal team, start building a list of who you should be expecting to outsource work to. You are going to need a court writer, for one, so start looking at the services operating in your area and building comparisons between services offered, reviews and testimonials, and so on. There may be specific skills you require assistance with but not enough to warrant a new hire, like contract drafting and review or paralegal work. Then there are the core operations of the business besides the legal work itself. Your IT and your communications systems, for instance.
Technology is changing all industry and the old, established world of law is no stranger to the progress of the times, either. In particular, using Cloud services can give you an advantage that other slow adopters don’t have. Legal firms can offer quicker sharing of resources and can ensure that you’re able to access case critical documents when you otherwise might not be. If you’re traveling or your office is hit with a blackout or power failure, then what you need can be just a few clicks away.
There are no guarantees in a legal career, as you should already have an idea. Everyone has weaknesses, especially in the world of law. Know your weaknesses, whether it’s difficulty writing, trouble in the court itself, or poor people skills. But know that you can work around them by focusing on the team members who contribute what you don’t. This is your opportunity not only to work the way you want but in the way you work best.
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Good luck in your search,