How to Start a Law Firm

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Launch Your Law Firm

Practicing law is a profession as well as a business.

However, most solo practitioners limit themselves to treating it as a profession. A successful law firm owner is able to see them both. Of course, you can have a thriving career as a lawyer with solid legal knowledge. But it takes more skills to start a law firm than just practicing law.

All of a sudden, you’ll be flooded with a lot more to do than investigating and negotiating.

You’ll have to handle business responsibilities including tasks like accounting, budgeting, hiring, and marketing. And if you’re not prepared for it, you’ll end up compromising your quality of work.

Remember, a compromise in your quality of work means a compromise in justice. You can’t be struggling to figure out how to establish your law firm while handling cases. It can lead to devastating consequences for your client.

But if you make the right moves, you’re going to enjoy the most rewarding experience of your life. You’ll be able to deliver justice to a lot more people in need. You’ll be more than just a lawyer by getting the opportunity to choose your clients, build your team and culture.

Whether your motivation is better work-life balance, financial freedom, or flexibility, it’s time to start thinking like a business owner. If you’re prepared to start your own law firm, you need more than a few tips and tricks. You need the guidance of someone who practices what he preaches – a lawyer turned law firm owner who can guide you through every step of this transition.

Darryl Isaacs founded Isaacs & Isaacs in 1993. He combined his marketing skills and his passion for helping others over the next 30 years to make the firm a well-known and beloved brand in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.


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With 60,000 clients and over $2 billion in recovery, Isaacs turned a dream into an empire. Now, Darryl is devoting the same skills and passion to guiding and empowering lawyers to start their own law firms through the Brain Trust Legal Group (BLG).

So are you firm about your motivation to start a law firm? Want to know how to make millions as a lawyer? Want to know the essential steps to start and grow your law firm? If you’re nodding your head, you’ve come to the right place to get ahead!

In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to start a law firm and give you a million-dollar formula to grow and sustain it. You’ll learn how to:

  • Develop a business plan
  • Organize your finances
  • Nail your pricing strategy
  • Brand your law firm
  • Set up a legal entity
  • Build optimal workflows
  • Manage clients
  • Boost productivity by leveraging the right technology
  • Create legal marketing strategies
  • Build a support system
  • Establish your company culture
  • Work with consultants
  • Plan training programs

It’s essential to take it slow and go step-by-step to give your law firm the direction it needs. Every law firm needs to hit each of these milestones to stay on the highway to success.

Developing a Business Plan

You’ll only find the highway to success if you’re driving in the right direction. Your business plan is the roadmap to give you a clear vision of where you want to take your law firm.

A man and a woman sitting at a table crafting a business plan

Don’t worry! It’s a lot easier than drafting a complicated legal document. Even a one-page business plan is enough to pin down your law firm's vision accurately.

So what do you need to write in your business plan? You must pen down why you want to start a law firm, what are your top goals, services, budget constraints, and strategy to attract and support clients. In simple words, you’re summarizing what you want your law firm to achieve and sharing a basic strategy to run it.

Think about your goals, ideal clients, and how would you define success for your law firm. Don’t worry! You’re not drafting a new law. These are guidelines to get you started, which will keep evolving as your business evolves to a different stage. However, it’s essential to put some thought into it because you’re setting up the fundamentals of your business practices.

Here are the essential steps you need to take to develop a business plan for your law firm:

  • Set clear objectives – The first question you need to ask yourself should clarify the reason why you want to set up a law firm. You need to understand what you want to achieve and your motivations for targeting it. It’s possible you may not even need to start it right now. And that’s okay! The whole point of this exercise is to do a fuel check before you get on the road to building your law firm. List down your strengths, limitations, services, the problems you want to solve, and the impact you want to create. What’s the point of chasing success if you don’t have any clear idea about what success will look like for your firm? Answering these questions will help you realize whether it’s a misguided dream or a worthwhile investment.
  • Estimate your revenue – The road to financial freedom requires strong financial planning, especially when you’re at the wheel running a business. Estimate the annual revenue you’ll need to much revenue you’ll need to reach your goals. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report revealed that the median pay for lawyers in America is $127,990. It sounds like a decent wage on paper. However, lawyers based in bigger cities know how quickly a big chunk of gets drained away. Inflation, rent, student debt repayments, fuel costs, and retirement savings are always hovering over your bank account as soon as the paycheck comes in. Aim higher while estimating your revenue needs. There are going to be plenty of planned and unplanned expenses while setting up your business.
  • Decide your fee structure – Look up average salary reports for lawyers in your chosen practice area. A little bit of market research will pay a lot in the long run – literally! You have to compete with a ton of law firms in your local area. It’s important to assess their fee structures to understand how to get a competitive edge without compromising your finances. You can charge flat rates for certain projects and hourly rates for others.
  • Calculate the cases you’ll need to score your financial targets – It’s important for your revenue estimates to be grounded in reality. And to do that, identifying the number of cases you’ll need every month to achieve that target is vital. two or three cases per month, the number you came up with above might look outrageous. For instance, if you want to achieve the median pay of $127,990 a year, how many monthly cases will you need to score? You’ll need to charge a flat fee of $3,000 per client and get at least 4 cases per month.

Calculating Revenue

A well-planned budget can keep your whole firm running smoothly throughout the year. It sets clear expectations for your annual cash flow and expenses. On the other hand, one financial hiccup can rattle the trust of your team and disrupt operations.


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You need to create a realistic start-up budget, estimate your cash flow, and your monthly projections.  You can set benchmarks to understand if you’re achieving your financial targets and keep revising them as your business evolves. There may be some months where you get more cases than the rest of the year. So plan your budget in a way that allows you to plan with the bigger picture in mind. You’ll also be able to allocate funds to cover expenses such as:

  • Yearly bar payments
  • Malpractice premiums
  • Self-employment taxes
  • Software subscriptions
A woman sitting at a desk calculating revenue

Here are three key steps to plan your law firm budget:

  1. Identifying all the areas of expenses – Now that you’re starting a business, you need to have a clear picture of the resources you already possess. Evaluate how much time and money you’ll save with each investment. Here are some common expenses you’ll have to plan for:
    - Bar association payments
    - Essential continual legal education investment
    - Malpractice coverage
    - Office space investment
    - Hardware and software
    - Marketing costs
    - Miscellaneous expenses
  2. Map out your revenue – It’s easy to estimate your revenue once you’ve compiled all your essential costs. You can set realistic business goals. You should be aware of the minimum revenue needed to keep your law firm afloat and how much you’ll need to enjoy a comfortable profit margin. Keep an eye out for competitors in your area of practice. You’ll gain enough insights about what a healthy revenue range looks like for a firm similar to yours. Also, there may be ups and downs in the volume of cases depending on your area of practice. So you should account for this volatility while planning your budget. Evaluate if it’s more feasible for you to have a flat fee or hourly wage structure.
  • Track your budget – Accounting is one of the first departments every business owner needs to get in order to build a stable foundation. You must keep track of your planned expenses and revenue and constantly update them. You can use a simple Excel sheet or a solution like Quickbooks Online. You can easily select templates for annual business budgets to quickly start updating your financial data. Do a monthly assessment to review your revenue and liabilities. You can conduct a more in-depth annual budget to adjust your long-term strategy based on your performance.

Setting Prices

According to a popular report, the median hourly rate for lawyers across the country was $261. However, you can’t just copy-paste this rate for your legal services. There are law firms that can charge a lot lesser or a lot more than that.

You need to think about a lot more factors before fixing the right pricing strategy for your law firm, such as:

  • Your practice area
  • Legal experience
  • Your location
  • Time and effort required for the case
  • Your competitors’ rates
  • Business expenses

You can choose multiple pricing strategies to suit your needs. Cost-first pricing focuses on covering the costs of your legal services before reaching an outcome. Competition-first models are based on providing a more attractive rate than your competitors.

However, one of the most effective pricing strategies is to keep it flexible and base it on the value your services create for your client. This is called a value-first pricing strategy.

In many cases, clients have a strong case in their hands, but just can’t afford the legal costs to get justice. You can offer a contingency fee to take care of this issue and win the confidence of your client early on.

Some of the other strategies include retainers, sliding scale, and subscription pricing models. 

Whether you charge a flat fee, contingency fee, or an hourly rate, it needs to be in alignment with your business expenses and the client’s interests. Low rates might work for a while, but reasonable rates are more sustainable in the long run.

Naming Your Law Firm and Branding

It’s easy to connect with a client on a one-on-one basis. Bringing personality to your brand and turning it into a name that inspires trust, knowledge, and success is a whole other game. But this is where the fun begins. This is where you begin your journey as a proud owner of a law firm by naming it and designing a logo for it.

Your firm name and logo make up your brand's first impression. It plays an important role in how people connect with you and feel inspired to find out more about you.

You already know there’s going to be some important legal work to take care of while launching your law firm.

Here are some federal law naming guidelines that most popular law firms abide by:

  • Avoid adding “And Associates”, “Partners”, or “Group” if you’re not working with any partners or associates
  • Avoid using any celebrity names to mislead people if they’re not providing any legal services through your firm
  • Don’t keep any state or jurisdiction names if you’re not a public legal aid agency. Verify your jurisdiction’s law firm naming rules as well.

Is your personal name enough to do the trick? It depends. Do you have decades of personal credibility and reputation? It could work if that’s the case. But even then, you want to open up a law firm because you want to be more than a big fish in a small pond. You’re trying to reach out to a wider base of clients who know nothing about you.

And that’s why it’s best to include the value you provide in the brand name itself. For example – you can add “Counsel for Personal Injury Victims” or “Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys” in your firm name. This simple trick can become your law firm’s unique selling proposition (USP) that guides your branding and marketing decisions.


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As important as it is to embrace a value-first branding approach, it’s equally important to understand that human beings find stimulating visuals just as engaging. Your logo and name are interconnected in terms of their purpose. It will appear on your website, business cards, social media, and emails. So you need to put some thought into your logo before finalizing it.

Here are some factors you should consider while developing your logo:

  • Choosing a color scheme, font, and design that accurately reflects your brand and core values
  • Trademark your logo
  • Check how your logo font and colors appear on various devices

You can develop a logo on Canva or Adobe Photoshop without shelling out much if you know exactly what you’re looking for. However, hiring a professional designer to understand your brand and customize the perfect logo can be really helpful too. You’ll be able to pick the best out of multiple logo options and iterations.

Forming a Legal Entity

Importance of It’s time to start structuring the foundation for your law firm. It’ll help firmly establish how your firm will deal with liability and taxation. You can only accomplish this by selecting the appropriate legal entity for your law firm.

Here are the four key legal structures you can choose from:

  • Sole proprietorship – For lawyers with a solo law practice.
  • Corporation – Available for both solo practitioners and two or more lawyers establishing a law firm. Corporations are legal entities that are given limited liability. Their ownership Is distributed among the law firm shareholders.
  • Partnership – For two or more lawyers trying to set up a law firm. This legal entity shares liability similar to corporations. All partners will share liability and profits equally. The costs to establish this legal entity are low.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – This legal entity shares liability similar to corporations. Members get the same treatment when it comes to protection from the acts and debts of the company. However, they are taxed uniquely.

It’s important to go through your jurisdiction guidelines before forming your legal entity. Certain states may have unique qualifications and obligations for law firm owners.

Building Internal Systems and Workflows

It’s time to make your legal experience shine and bring organization to your organization. Map out your internal systems and workflows to create a clear-cut process for handling work. They will cater to the way you want to work and help you deliver consistent, high-quality work.

You should reflect on the pros and cons of your tried-and-tested workflows. Choose the ones that truly optimized your performance and can easily be followed by your whole team. These systems will ensure every team member has their work cut out for them clearly and eliminate micromanagement.

Think about where you want to work, what your working hours will be, and how do you want to handle client communications. Your workflows will vary based on your practice area.

Here are a few external client processes that you must consider for improving onboarding, billing, and communication:

  • Introducing the discussion of fees at a certain stage
  • Ideal time to deliver invoices
  • Setting your primary communications channels (email, phone, social media, live chat)
  • Providing feedback channels

Here are a few internal client processes to build that will help you improve productivity:

  • Selecting the right platform to track time, hourly billing, trust accounting, and organizing client documents
  • Creating a secure client information-sharing platform
  • Setting up online payment services

You’re laying the foundation for a highly productive law firm with these processes and workflows. Firms that use the necessary tools to streamline their workflows enjoy better caseloads and better payments while wasting lesser time. You can enhance productivity by up to 21% over firms that don’t take the initiative to use tools.

Managing External Clients

Your clients always going to be your biggest asset. They play the biggest role in realizing your revenue dreams and building your brand reputation.

Man greeting elderly woman at his office door

You need to build systems to monitor and manage your client relationships to keep them healthy. And that can only happen when you can make your client feel valued and support every step of their journey.  

Your focus should be on building systems that create long-term relationships, not just attracting new clients. And the only secret to client retention is healthy attention.


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How do you do that? By designing an optimal client onboarding process, and by using consistent and clear messaging to build trust and credibility.

Here are the essential measures you need to take to improve your client management:

  • Due diligence – Conduct due diligence checks to validate the documents shared by clients and any other parties involved in the case. You need to ensure they fulfill all legal obligations to be used for the case.
  • Identifying leads – It’s important to know who your client is, what they’re looking for, and how did they find you. A smart fisherman goes straight to the spot where the fishes are most active. You need to know what turns a casual visitor into a lead and where can you hook them in. Sort them out by their name, contact details, expected revenue, relevant law area, and engagement channel. This information will help you accurately target your marketing strategy.
  • Managing the client lifecycle – Every client relationship thrives on the time and results you deliver to them. As a case evolves, you’ll need to schedule calls or meetings with your client. Sure, it may take some time before you reach a settlement. However, it’s important for them to know you’re making progress. You’ll also have to make checklists to break down the information you need from your clients at different stages of the case. And in case something is missing, you’ll need to set reminders to get it from them.
  • Managing the client’s financial data – Based on your agreed terms of payment, you need to be able to track your client’s financial data. For instance, you must track the hours you’ve logged in to build a client’s case and highlight the value you’ve created for them. It will help you build a transparent and reliable invoicing system. You must be able to check any outstanding amounts for a client to promptly resolve the issues.

Using Technology to Support Business Goals

Did you know that many lawyers spend up to 69% of their time working on tasks that have nothing to do with their core skills? They’re stuck with client onboarding and invoicing tasks that cannot be billed. Hiring more people lawyers no sense if you don’t give them the right tools to automate and fast-track all menial tasks.

A woman working at a desk answering the phone

You don’t need gimmick AI tools or expensive software suites to solve them. Your goal should be to embrace technology that fits into your workflow rather than forcing the workflow around it. It’s about learning to work smarter, not harder. Most of your daily operations like expense tracking, calendar management, billing, and invoicing can easily be automated.

Here are some of the biggest productivity benefits you can get by leveraging the right technology for your law firm:

·  Providing instant access to your case files  

·  Managing your day-to-day workflows

·  Sorting out your client data

·  Simplifying communication with clients

·  Tracking your finances

·  Automating menial tasks

9 out of 10 lawyers have already implemented tools to help optimize one or more of these tasks. They have helped free themselves from the burden of mundane tasks and focus on what they love doing. Naturally, their case volumes have increased without any compromise in the quality of service they provide.

Here are eight highly popular productivity tools you can implement for your law firm and get instant results:

  1. Google Workspace – Most lawyers are already comfortable using Google products for managing their emails and calendars. Google Workspace provides an all-in-one suite to store and share all your documentation with team members. You can use it to personalize your business email and create calendars to schedule meetings and reminders.
  2. Adobe E-Sign – This tool helps you save a lot of time by allowing you to remotely sign and send all legal documents. It reduces your client onboarding time significantly and avoids lead dropouts. You can also find similar tools in the marketplace like HelloSign, which provide you a timestamped audit trail. This allows you to transparently track the history of all parties involved in sharing and updating the document.
  3. Asana or Trello – These are two of the best-rated workflow management platforms used by a variety of businesses. You’ll be able to create a shared workspace where your team will collaborate to complete their assigned tasks. At any point, you can check in to see how your projects are progressing. It’ll reduce a lot of time lost in micromanaging and following up with different team members. You can easily attach documents and media files to share with your team members. Both Asana and Trello can easily be integrated with Google Drive.
  4. Clio/MyCase/PracticePanther – These software suites are specifically built for simplifying law practice management. You can use an intuitive dashboard to document all your case progress details in one place. You can track time, set up contacts, update case information, save communication records, manage cases, and access information through a variety of third-party apps.
  5. Team Viewer – Quick and secure access to sensitive information is critical for all lawyers. However, it can be a challenge if you’ve stored some documents on one device and can’t access it through another device. Team Viewer gives you remote access to those documents no matter where you are in a secure way.
  6. Calendly – Squeezing out the right time in your calendar can be a challenge when both your team members and clients have hectic schedules. Calendly eliminates the time wasted going back and forth just to finalize a meeting. You can mark your available weekly time slots in your calendar and share it with someone. They can pick a slot that suits them and quickly finalize the meeting. It will be updated on the calendars of both parties. You can also update the agenda for the meeting ahead of time. It will also send timely reminders to both parties to ensure the meeting goes through as scheduled.
  7. Westlaw – Westlaw is a global legal encyclopedia that makes it a lot easier for lawyers to stay updated with relevant history and breakthroughs in their field. You’ll have access to legal journals, legislation, and a huge selection of court cases. It’ll help sharpen your legal skills and build stronger cases for your clients without wasting time combing through irrelevant search results.

Marketing Strategies for Law Firms

95% of people seeking legal advice start out looking for it with a simple Google search. The days of solely relying on word of mouth to get clients are over. You need to make your brand presence known where the people are looking for solutions.

If you’re in tune with your client’s evolving needs, you’ll be able to build a client-centered law firm that never misses the mark.


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A good law marketing strategy will help your clients understand the true value of your services and inspire an urgency to take action.

Here are three crucial factors to consider while coming up with your law firm’s marketing strategy:

  1. Setting specific and measurable goals – Everyone wants to increase their monthly leads. However, you need to frame this goal in the right way before you start to chase it. You can reframe it by saying – “I want to boost my leads from Google pay-per-click ads by 20% within six months. I’ll have to get 200 clicks per week to accomplish this. It’ll help me boost my client acquisition by 10%.”
  2. Know your target audience – Most law firms have a specific client base that accounts for most of their cases. How well do you know your prospective clients? Do you know their demographic information, interests, and needs? You can use your experience and social media analytics to identify the customer persona you want to target. It’ll help you shape your marketing communications to connect with them more strongly.
  3. Plan your marketing budget – Figure out the percentage of revenue you’re comfortable with spending on marketing. You can set up a monthly marketing budget and forecast the number of conversions you’ll need to justify that investment.

There are dozens of points of contact through which someone can get in touch with your brand. You can’t just limit yourself to one of them. At the same time, you can’t expect to spread your marketing budget across all channels and make an impact. It’s important to understand where most of your leads come from and which channels they use most often.

Here are some of the most widely used marketing channels for law firms:

Search engine optimization (SEO) – It’s the first instinct for most people who are urgently looking for legal advice to turn to Google. Between 70-90 percent of clicks come from the first page of Google results. However, getting your website links to the first page organically takes skill and patience. You need to identify the right keywords, generate backlinks, and update content that people are looking for.

Designing your website – 75% of website visitors are prepared to take action after clicking your page. Your website design and content will need to give them enough reason to keep exploring. Choose a website design that’s user-friendly and optimized for smartphones. Every page should ideally load within five seconds. Keep the right balance of text, colors, and images to reel them in. The page they land on should prominently feature your key services, case studies, testimonials, and clear calls to actions (CTAs). These prominent buttons or links should directly lead them to share their contact information, basic case details, and set up meetings with your team.

Content marketing – Search engine algorithms are programmed to reward websites that create content consistently. You’ll be able to deliver content that your target audience is actively seeking. It’ll also make your web pages rank higher for new keywords. You can choose to publish e-books, blogs, podcasts, videos, memes, or any other form of media that excites people.

Testimonials – Testimonials are nothing but digital word-of-mouth marketing in action. New customers usually prefer to take the word of other customers before yours. One referral can save you a lot of time and money spent acquiring new leads. And one great review can keep many more new leads flowing through your doors. You must encourage clients to share their reviews on Google, Facebook, and your website and prominently feature them.

Social media marketing – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are some of the most popular channels for social media marketing. You can use them to share relevant legal content, connect with clients, or network with other lawyers.

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising – Getting your website pages to rank in the top 10-20 search results organically may take weeks or months. You can reinforce your search engine presence through a paid Google Ads campaign. You can create landing pages for your local area of practice that will be displayed to your target audience. So when they search for your selected keyword, your PPC ad will pop up above the search results. Although it’s one of the more expensive forms of marketing, it also leads to consistent conversions.

Email marketing – Getting your client’s email is one of the most high-value pieces of information you can collect from your client. That’s why many websites simply ask for your email rather than your name. You can give your subscriber a cool incentive like a free e-book or a free case review in exchange for this information. It’s worth the effort.  You can gain over $35 for every dollar you invest in email marketing. Don’t keep spamming them once you get their email though. Use drip marketing campaigns to slowly deliver valuable resources that organically guide them to engage more with your content.

Building a Support System

It takes keen leadership skills to run a law firm because of how many people you’ll have to bring in to create a reliable support system. You can use technology to bypass boring tasks, but there’s no substitute for human resourcefulness when it comes to networking. The stronger your network is, the faster your business prospers.

Finding a community of peers is important, but easy to pull off once you commit to a sharing and growing mindset. Small business associations and social media platforms can help connect with others

Here are a few community hotspots to network with other legal professionals:

  • Facebook or LinkedIn groups – You can search for local groups of lawyers and join them. You can also check out any events planned by such communities in your area or promote your own networking event.
  • Brain Trust Legal Group (BLG) – Specifically built by successful law firm owners to help new law firm owners reach their potential. You can join mastermind groups and coaching programs to get detailed, hands-on guidance about each stage of your business evolution. You’ll also be able to attend virtual and in-person events with highly experienced attorneys to sharpen your skills.
  • LawyerSmack – This platform offers over 100 channels covering various legal issues. There’s a channel specifically dedicated to new law firm owners. You’ll be able to gain insights from a vast network of experienced lawyers.
  • The Law Community (TLC) – This is one of the best platforms to keep up with evolving legal technology. You’ll get reliable insights from fellow lawyers who have tested out a variety of tools.

There’s a lot of work that goes into building a case that shouldn’t be dumped on the desk of your team of lawyers. You must hire the necessary staff to support their work and free them from tasks that aren’t part of their core skill sets.


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You can hire part-time or full-time legal assistants to take care of various research and administrative tasks. They can also take over the responsibilities of fixing appointments, managing contracts, and overlooking accounting work. We recommend hiring legal assistants who are familiar with your jurisdiction’s regulations for lawyers.

Staffing and Company Culture

Businesses can only thrive in the long run when every employee believes in the same vision. You need more shared values than the size of a paycheck to achieve this. Many lawyers take the initiative to start their own law firm because of how burnt out they felt working in other firms. Before becoming a boss, consider this – “Would I want to work for a boss like me?”

Colleagues talking over coffee in their office

As a law firm owner, you’ll be responsible for setting the core values of your company. And your company culture will be built around these values. A positive company culture with strong values is crucial for employee happiness and success. You need to create an atmosphere that makes people take ownership of your firm’s success along with you.

But what does law firm culture include?

It is a set of guidelines and policies that cover factors such as:

  • Your firm’s mission statement
  • Communication standards with clients and team members
  • Approach to making decisions
  • Time and work expectations
  • Holidays and break policies
  • Career development programs
  • Social networking events

Here are the founding pillars you need to set up to build a strong company culture:

  • Write down a clear vision statement – A good leader can easily step into the shoes of an employee to make decisions. That’s what you need to do for this exercise as well. What is your vision for your law firm 5-10 years down the line? How do you want your local community to perceive your law firm? What essential qualities do you want all team members to share?
  • Hire employees that naturally imbibe your company values – It’s easy to figure out whether someone is qualified for your firm just by reading their resume. But you can only figure out their personality and work ethics when you personally interview them. You can set questions that give you insights into their character as part of your application process. It’ll also help to create a few interviews with senior lawyers and other team members present to see how easily they can connect with each other.
  • Create incentives – Employees who exemplify your law firm’s core values and strengthen your brand should be rewarded. For instance, employees who take initiative to participate in volunteer projects should be celebrated and rewarded. Those who consistently bring in more cases and attract five-star ratings should be given more incentives.
  • Create a stable management style – Have discussions to educate all employees about the collaboration, integrity, and effective communication skills you’re aiming for. It’s important to be consistent with this approach across all departments to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
  • Set healthy work-life boundaries – Financial freedom shouldn’t cost your well-being. It’s important for your team members to meet their work expectations on time. However, you should ensure they’re not underappreciated and overburdened. You also need to give them enough room to take care of their personal needs. What’s the point of logging in more billable hours for a few months if they’re going to burn out and leave your firm? In fact, that’ll be more damaging to your firm’s finances and its reputation.

Working with Consultants

It’s good to be self-driven for figuring out solutions for your business, but sometimes all you need is a professional problem-solver. Hiring a legal consultant can save you a lot of time and money.

Let’s say your career specialty is handling auto accident injury cases. However, you also want to branch out to include workplace compensation, bad faith insurance, taxation, and other new practice areas.

Legal consultants who specialize in those areas of practice can help you set up that part of the business smoothly. They’ll use their knowledge and networking strength to headhunt the attorneys you need to build those practice areas.

Most consultants charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for their work. You can also retain their services for longer if you’ll need their insights regularly.

Ongoing Training and Development

Law is a field that demands you to remain a student for your whole career if you want to keep climbing the success ladder. Ongoing training programs are important for staying up-to-date with changes to the law and reviewing new case precedents.

A 2009 study revealed that law firm employees who went through high-quality training programs generate more than twice the revenue of employees who don’t go through any further training.

Investing in your team’s legal skills will help them work more strategically. They’ll be able to get more value by working lesser hours.

It’s easy to group your team members and enroll them into a training program if they’re in the same area of practice. However, you’ll have to pick unique programs for employees with different backgrounds. Every program needs to be personalized and highly skill-specific. 75 percent of knowledge that isn’t applied within six days after learning it is forgotten.

So if your employees are not going to practically implement the knowledge they’re learning, it’s not a fruitful investment.

Here are a few different types of training systems you can consider for your law firm:

  • Mentoring
  • Legal conferences
  • Webinars and virtual meetups
  • Courses
  • Free online resources
  • Coaching and training programs
  • Law firm consulting 

You need to make your employees feel invested in their own growth before investing in it. Have an in-depth discussion with each employee about their strengths, weaknesses, what skill they want to develop, and what is their preferable learning style. Some people are visual learners while others are listeners. Some people prefer intensive in-person training while others enjoy doing it virtually at their own pace. You can use these answers to choose the perfect training program for them.


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It's also important to write down specific goals for your training program. Are you doing it to improve your work-life balance? Are you doing it to generate more leads? Do you want to get more productive by leveraging the latest legal tech?

Setting clear goals will allow you to measure your progress over the next few months.

You can also initiate a follow-up plan to check in with each member after completing their training. You can review what they learned with the rest of the team members if necessary. This way you’ll be able to create a peer group that keeps passing on the insights they learned to your law firm. They can write a summary that can be updated to your learning center. You’ll also get first-hand accounts of how effective your training investment was.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the business responsibilities of starting a law firm?

As a law firm owner, you’ll be surprised at how many other responsibilities you’ll have to handle apart from your legal work.

Here are some essential business responsibilities to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine:

    • Creating your brand identity – Finalize your law firm name, logo, and mission statement.

    • Registering your legal entity – Consult an accountant to check which legal entity works best for your exposure to taxation and liabilities. You can choose to register your firm as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, corporation, or partnership.

    • Set up your financial accounts – There are clear financial regulatory guidelines for handling client funds. You should consult your account to check which accounts are most favorable for your firm’s needs. It could be a checking account, Client Trust Account, Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, or credit cards.

    • Outline your financial plan – You need to set a clear budget to manage your expectations for annual cash flow and expenses. Identify all areas of expenses, revenue projections, and ways to track your budget.

    • Fixing your office space – Choose if it’s more feasible to buy or rent an office space. Consider how much time your team can do their work remotely.

    • Purchase the necessary hardware and software – Buy the required office supplies and software licenses for the firm to operate smoothly.

    • Create internal systems and workflows – Lay out efficient workflows for your internal and external client processes so that everyone in your firm has their work cut out for them.

    • Create a marketing strategy –It’s essential to set specific and measurable marketing goals, identify your target audience, and fix a marketing budget. You can then choose the best channels to engage your audience to attract more leads.

    • Leverage the right technology – Identify the necessary productivity tools your firm needs to minimize administrative work and focus on what they love doing.

    • Start networking – Make your presence known in local legal communities on LinkedIn and Facebook. You can also attend in-person conferences to collaborate with other lawyers and exchange referrals.

    • Create employee training programs – Choose personalized and highly skill-specific programs for your employees. Ensure they can directly apply the skills they learned in their area of practice.

Why is a business plan necessary for starting a law firm?

A business plan is a roadmap for your law firm that ensures you’re heading in the right direction. It gives a shared vision of success to every member of your firm.

You’re essentially summarizing your business expectations and the strategy to run it.

Here’s what you need to clearly lay out in your law firm’s business plan:

    • Set clear goals that can measure your success in the future

    • Estimate your revenue

    • Fix your fee structure

    • Estimate the number of cases you’ll need to meet your revenue goals

What are some crucial aspects of starting a law firm?

Here are the first few crucial steps you’ll have to take for starting your law firm:

    • Develop a business plan

    • Choose your practice areas

    • Creating your brand identity

    • Structuring your legal entity

    • Financing your firm

    • Setting up office infrastructure

    • Hiring talent

What factors should be taken into account when setting prices?

You should only settle your pricing strategy after carefully evaluating a lot of factors such as:

    • What’s your area of practice?

    • How long have you been practicing for?

    • What’s your location?

    • How much time and effort will you need to invest for the case?

    • How much do your local competitors charge?

    • What are your business costs?

You don’t have to lock down a fixed pricing model for all your cases. You can choose between charging a flat fee, hourly rate, contingency fee, retainer, sliding scale, or subscription pricing model.

It should be a comfortable middle ground for you and the clients. So it’s important to spend enough time understanding your client’s financial constraints too before taking their case.

What are some guidelines for naming a law firm and designing its brand identity?

Your brand identity is going to be your first impression on every channel.

Here are some guidelines to help you create a strong and memorable brand identity:

    • Use a law firm name that’s relevant, memorable, and credible – Use a name that’s easy to pronounce and spell. The name should sound authoritative and can even include your firm’s area of specialization. It’ll help potential clients instantly know if you’re qualified to give them the legal advice they’re looking for.

    • Regional considerations – Highlight the states where you actively offer your legal services to appeal to clients looking for a trusted lawyer in their area.

    • Ethical compliance – Does your law firm name meet all the law firm naming rules and regulations of your jurisdiction? Ensure you don’t use any terms that are not approved by them.

    • Brand aesthetics – Choose a visually appealing logo, color palette, and other design elements that align with your brand identity.

What legal entities can a law firm be formed as?

You can choose from four key legal structures for your law firm:

    • Sole proprietorship

    • Corporation

    • Partnership

    • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Why is building internal systems and workflows important for a law firm?

Your law firm’s internal systems and workflows are responsible for running your firm’s day-to-day operations smoothly. They help you easily distribute workload among your teammates and track progress.

They also help you establish clear communication and work standards so that your whole team is on the same page. You’ll be able to cut out micromanagement and maximize productivity if you design them well.

Your workflows will vary based on your practice area, working hours, and client communication needs. They will be tailored to the way you prefer to work and help you provide consistent, high-quality services.

Think about the pros and cons of the workflows you’ve already tested while working in previous law firms or independently. Take the ones that proved their success already, which can easily be followed by the rest of your team members.

Here are a few questions to consider before you optimize your workflows:

    • When should you bring up the discussion of fees while dealing with a client?

    • What is the best time to send invoices?

    • What are the main communication channels used by your clients and your team attorneys?

    • Where can your clients provide feedback?

    • What are the best platforms for tracking billable hours, handling trust accounting, and secure client documentation access?

    • What are your preferred online payment services?

How can technology be used to support business goals?

Most lawyers waste 69% of their time handling mundane administrative tasks instead of focusing on what they love doing. You can’t be too productive if you’re shuffling back and forth between client onboarding and invoicing work. However, you don’t need to hire too many extra workers to fill in these gaps and free them from this burden.

What you need is the right technology to take over these tasks and fast-track your workflows. Did you know you could easily automate most of these tasks with just a handful of platforms?

Here are the top benefits you’ll be able to enjoy by embracing the right tools to empower your law firm:

·  Easy accessibility to your case documentation

·  Streamlining daily workflows

·  Securely storing and retrieving your client data

·  Making communication with clients easier

·  Tracking your budget and revenue

·  Automating mundane tasks

What marketing strategies can law firms use to acquire clients?

You need to adopt client-centric marketing strategies based on their interaction and content preferences.

A good strategy will make your target audience instantly connect with the value you offer and urge them to take the next step. Whatever marketing strategy you choose, you must know your target audience, set clear and measurable goals, and plan your marketing budget.

You must identify the channels where your target audience is most active and focus on attracting more leads through them.

Here are some popular marketing strategies that you can test out:

    • Establish your law firm’s unique selling point (USP) as part of your brand identity

    • Make your law firm’s experience and capability the focus in your website copywriting

    • Highlight your glowing client testimonials and reviews

    • Share case studies and results to prove you can put your money where your mouth is

    • Create unique landing pages for local practice areas

    • Publish engaging attorney biographies to establish trust

    • Create an SEO campaign to improve your website’s rankings in search engine algorithms

    • Regularly publish promotional and educational content that helps you become a topical authority in your field

    • Optimize your website’s architecture and content for all devices so that it loads much faster

    • Provide a resource center with easy access to guides, videos, ebooks, FAQs, and forms

    • Host educational webinars

    • Provide live chat support on your website and social media channels

    • Create an engaging email marketing campaign

    • Run optimized pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google

Why is building a positive company culture important for employee happiness and success?

You don’t need a high-stress environment to produce high-quality work. It takes a shared vision and a feeling of shared ownership in your team to create a business that thrives in the long-run. A healthy and stress-free company culture is essential to save your team members from getting burnt out and dropping out.

Law firm owners are responsible for laying the foundation of the company culture. A positive company culture with strong values will naturally lead to a happy team driving your success. You need to carefully craft your firm’s mission statement, communication standards, decision making protocol, work-life balance expectations, training programs, and social networking events.

What should be considered when working with consultants?

Running a law firm becomes more feasible when you properly plan out how to handle the expanded volume and variety of cases. Don’t waste your precious hours trying to play jack-of-all-trades.

Hiring a legal consultant can help you save a lot of time and money when you’re planning to include new practice areas. Their specialized knowledge and networking power will help you fast-track the whole process.

Why is ongoing training and development important for lawyers?

Law is a dynamic profession. It’s not unusual to see federal and state laws being constantly challenged and updated. If you’re not keeping up with the changes in your practice area, you’re letting your career slip into stagnation.

A successful firm needs to invest in their team’s legal skills to work more effectively. That’s why promoting ongoing training programs are essential for upgrading your team’s legal knowledge and skills.

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