We all know lawyers who have made the decision to start their own practice. Some lawyers are sick of the rat race, while others want more potential for growth that they haven’t been seeing at their firm. In some cases, lawyers can start their own practices right after law school. It doesn’t matter if they are fresh out of school or fresh out of a huge white collar firm, there are necessary steps that every entrepreneurial lawyer must take when they make the decision to start their own practice.
1. Design A Website For Your Firm
The headline for this section is a bit misleading, as in almost every single case you should pay someone else to design a website for you. It doesn’t matter how we phrase it, though: if you are going to start your own practice, you need a modern and functional website for your firm. Websites can be designed for only a few thousand dollars, and many companies offer search optimization that can bring you key leads in the formative stages of your business. A website attracts clients that would otherwise not even know you existed, and allows people who hear about you through word of mouth get a feel for your firm.
2. Leave No Networking Stone Unturned
As a graduate of law school and college, you probably have many professional contacts that you can tap into. You don’t want to ask everyone you know if they know someone who knows a lawyer, but it might be smart to reach out to peers who work at larger firms: if they receive cases that are too small for their firm, they might refer the case to you. Make sure that you are pleasant and not too pushy. On top of this, getting the word around that you have your own practice might attract some of your peers to join you – if you are interested in that. While you might be creating your own firm to get away from the politics of a big firm, adding a partner can effectively double your reach. It is definitely worth considering.
3. Only Publicize Your Bigger Cases
While it might be exciting to announce every single case you win or settle on your website, it is important to utilize caution when posting results. Sure, you want clients to know that you are successful, but if you continually display lower-money cases in your case results, there is a good chance that you are lowering your value going forward. If someone has a potential big-money case and sees that most of your cases are significantly below the range they are expecting, they might not even give your firm a call after browsing the website. This does not mean that you need to stop taking cheaper cases, it just means you should do so without advertising it. You should always look to make your time more valuable, and taking bigger cases is the way to make that happen.
In summation, when you start your own firm, there are three things that you need to keep in mind: have an attorney website for your firm, utilize all of your previous contacts, and only brag about the big stuff. If you do these three things, you will be well on your way to success.