Do you want to start a law firm out of law school with no money? Or you need a sample law firm business plan template? If YES, then i advice you read on.
It is a known fact that every intending Lawyer has to attend law school after graduation from College. Law school usually lasts for one year and after the one year of intensive training in Law school and call to BAR, most new Lawyers have difficulty in making the decision whether to open their own Law firms or work in another Lawyer’s law firm.
The truth is that it is easier to apply for, and work in an already established law firm, but it is much advantageous to start your own Law firm right after Law school. While there is no definite time when a lawyer chooses to have his/ her law firm established, not everyone has what it takes to be a successful lawyer or manage a law firm. No sane person would wake up one day and says he/she wants to start a law firm without going through the necessary procedure.
For this article, I will cover a number of issues such as; first, why it is better to start your own Law firm right after Law school and secondly, things you need to start a successful Law firm. Sit tight while I take you on a ride to starting a successful Law firm and career.
What is a Law Firm?
The Black’s Law Dictionary defines a law firm as “an association of lawyers who practice law together, usually sharing clients and profits, in a business traditionally organized as a partnership. The Legal Practitioners Act states that a person is entitled to practice as a Barrister or Solicitor as long as his name is on the roll; that is someone that has been called to the Bar.
After being called to the bar, you can start a law firm; though this is not a child’s play and only those who are focused, strong-hearted, strong-willed can establish and operate a law firm successfully with experience, and competency also playing their parts.
Why It Is Better to Start your Own Law Firm After School
As I mentioned above, it is easier to join an already established Law firm right after Law school, because starting your own firm can be very stressful to build and also risky, but if you can take the risk to start out, you will may be surprised with the success you will make. Some of the reasons why it is better to start up your own Law firm include;
- Make more money-: If you start your own Law firm and it becomes successful, you will end up employing more Lawyers to work for you, and this means more money for you. It is very possible to become financially free if you have a successful Law firm.
- You will become your own boss-: Starting your own Law firm after Law school means that you will become your own Boss since you will not work for anybody. You will experience the fun of being your own boss, working for at your own time, and working only when you feel like.
- Reputation-: You will be rated as a success if you open a successful Law firm after school, and in turn this will skyrocket your reputation.
Let’s now go into what you need to start a successful Law firm right after Law school:
5+ Tips You Need to Start a Successful Law Firm Right After Law School
1. Select a Niche
As a law student, you should have, before your graduation pinpointed an area of interest or expertise, plan ahead and remain focused. You must also bear in mind that combining like three or four areas of law will make you look like that common business man out there. You must carve a niche for yourself to be able stand out among your peers. A good way to go about this is to concentrate on an area of law for a start or maximum of two.
According to Branigan Robertson on Business Insider, “Don’t even try to start a ‘whatever comes in the door’ law firm. When it comes to law and business, there are sure many areas to choose from:
- Corporate and Commercial law
- Criminal law
- Environmental law
- Family law
- Real Estate law
- Employment law
- Securities law (stocks and bonds)
- Tax law
- International law, etc.
One more thing you must bear in mind when choosing area(s) of law is to leave greediness out of it. Don’t look at the returns before choosing a niche but consider deeply, your ability and competence to deliver quality service to your clients. Here is a sample law firm business plan template you can start with.
2. Gain the needed experience
No matter the area you choose, you should equip yourself to be able to face the challenges ahead and gain the trust of your clients. You also need to acquire the requisite skill and knowledge to manage your own firm. A tax lawyer for example, must get his/ her head around the finance documents.
Now how do you gain this experience, since you are just fresh out of law school? Here’s how to solve circumvent this challenge. During your universities days, don’t just use your holiday periods to gist or gossip around. You can pick up a vacation job to gain live experience apart from what you are being taught in the classroom.
This is the first thing to consider when starting a Law firm; you need an office space where the firm will be located. The firm should contain basic things like a receptionist room, Lawyer and Partner’s room, Client’s waiting room and also major office equipments like office Table and Chair, Computer, Copier, Printer, Filing desk for you text books, law journals and Citations books.
Also remember that your location of the firm matters. Why? The reason is because the more exposed the location of the firm is, the more rapidly it will grow.
Taking for instance, a firm located in a Country side and another one located in a major city, the one in the city will expand more rapidly than the one located in the country side or less developed area. Not to forget the library section, it should be well-stocked and updated. Also put your rent into consideration, as you wouldn’t want to spend all your savings on rent since you are just starting out.
An ideal law firm should be situated in a conducive and an enabling environment with the supporting staff like the accountant, secretary and at least one lawyer. Yes, another lawyer to serve as assistance because in the long run, you won’t be able to handle all the cases alone.
4. Adverts and Marketing–: Starting a law firm is just the tip of the iceberg, you will really need to prove your worth in order to have a good client base, but remember you will need beyond mere personal conviction to make a name for yourself. This is why you need a killer law firm marketing plan.
No matter how good the Law firm is or the how good the location of the firm is, you need to market the firm to get more exposure to the firm because more exposure means more Clients and more money.
- You can start with a business card that you can easily give out with your full title on it. Introduce yourself to your potential clients; let them know what you are into. Hand complimentary cards and fliers to friends and relatives, and people around your firm. The complimentary card should contain the firm’s name, address, phone number, email address and website address.
- We are in the computer age, so having your website is not a bad idea; you start with the free sites like Google’s BlogSpot and wordpress. Be active on the social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
- Taking and winning high profile cases (this is the quickest way to bring exposure for your firm), especially if your Client is a top Star or a high profiled Politician. Also, you can have a marketing department in the firm, and employ Sales Personnel, whose main duty is to attract paying Clients to the firm. These main require an extra cost, but it is worth it in the long run.
5. Networking-: Networking is very vital for the success of your Law firm. Networking here has to do with connecting with other top profiled Lawyers and Legal Practitioners. There are a lot of yearly conventions and gatherings for Lawyers, Judges and other high Legal Personalities. You can attend these conventions and connect with these set of people; because some times, in the Law career who you know matters a lot.
6. Build synergy-: You can apply the principle of synergy in your Law firm and achieve greater results. The law of synergy states that when two or more persons work together for the achievement of one common goal, they will achieve much more than if just one person work towards that goal. How this applies to the growth of your Law firm is that you can employ other smart Lawyers as Associates or Partners to achieve better success in the firm, while you guys share profits according to the agreed percentage.
7. Upgrade yourself-: even after you start your firm; it is advisable that you upgrade yourself regularly to keep abreast of happenings in the legal world. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go back to school to get a Masters degree or PHD; you can buy Law journals and publications regularly to know to get informed on happenings and know rulings on recent cases. This is vital to the success of your Law firms.
You shouldn’t forget to factor in your financial strength. Remember, you need good financial back-up because you won’t start seeing revenues immediately. It will definitely take time so you need that finance that will sustain you for some months before cash starts rolling in.
In conclusion, you can now see that it is very much possible to start and grow your own Law firm after law school, though it may not be stressful at first, with perseverance and hard work, you can build a successful Law firm right after Law school.