There are 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, with around 25% of them in New York and California. If you’re looking to start a legal practice, you’re going up against some stiff competition.
Your law firm needs to stand out from the pack if you want to attract high-paying clients and partners. In this guide, we’ll give you some advice on things to consider when starting a legal practice.
Consider Your Finances
The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out a budget for yourself and your practice. Think about everything you’ll need for both yourself and your business and how much it will cost. If your personal bills are $3,000 a month and your business expenses (utilities, commercial rent, business insurance, etc) are another $3,000, you’ll need $6,000 a month minimum. You’ll also need to add another 25-30% for taxes to that total.
Once you get your number, figure out how much you’d like to charge per hour and how many billable hours it will take for you to pay your bills. This will let you know if it’s feasible to start your own legal practice right now.
Think About Marketing Strategies
When looking at your finances, don’t forget to add money in for marketing. Even if you’re the best lawyer in America, you have to market yourself to clients.
There are a few marketing cliches in the legal profession: park benches, bus ads, and bad commercials. One way to break away from the pack is to advertise your services online using SEO. Build a website and work on targeting keywords such as “best attorney Los Angeles” or “car accident attorney St Louis” so that people who need your services can find you online.
You can also look into purchasing exclusive attorney leads, most of which come from people going onto legal sites and requesting consultations or more information. These are people that need legal information, meaning there’s a good chance they need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
Don’t forget your logo! Using a logo will help your marketing efforts and allow you to convey more about your practice.
Decide Between a General Legal Practice and Niche Services
When you first start out, you might lean towards a general practice to get as many clients as possible, but there’s a downside to that strategy. General practices tend to attract lower-paying clients. Niche legal services, however, can charge more per hour because they have specialized skills.
If there’s a particular niche that you’re interested in, marketing your services by using SEO will be particularly helpful. For example, you can target fathers facing abuse accusations during child custody cases. You could also choose to work with medical malpractice victims from certain drugs or surgeries.
This choice will define almost every decision you make involving location, marketing, and budgeting, so put a lot of thought into it, choose wisely, and go all-in with your decision!
Preparation Makes All The Difference
The most important thing you can do when starting a business, especially a legal practice, is to prepare. In the beginning, you’ll want to research all of your options and make deliberate and well-thought-out decisions. As long as you prepare for what’s to come and do your due diligence, your legal practice will be a success!
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