There are several motivations for lawyers to branch out and become their own bosses – job security and work/life balance being among the top reasons. Whether you’ve been thinking about starting your own firm for hours or years, there are a few things to take into account that can help ease the transition and help build a successful practice.
So, if you’re ready to start out on your own, read on for three things to consider before you leap.
Similar to tackling any goal, your mindset is what will make or break your ability to be successful. Starting this journey with a clear idea of what you intend to achieve and what your purpose is for going solo will help you to stay on track.
If you’ve been in practice for a while, you may have an idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to standards of practice. Start thinking about how you would like to conduct business, treat your employees and clients, and what truly comes “first” when building your company culture. These standards are yours to create but also yours to uphold. Framing your standards now will help to guide your business decisions moving forward.
Lastly, an important ingredient to your successful mindset recipe is abandoning any limiting beliefs you may have on what you can achieve. You now know why you’re starting your firm and what type of success you’re working toward – now is the time for action!
Your marketing plan
So, you’re the best tax lawyer that St. Louis has ever seen – but does your ideal client know that? If you’re considering starting your own firm, you will need to create a marketing plan that helps you reach new clients and grow your business.
Know your market
Think: who is your ideal client? What would their legal issue be and where are they located? Focusing on getting leads from your ideal clients rather than any clients will help to define and optimize your marketing plan. To truly know your ideal client, you should determine the answers to the following:
- What is this person’s age?
- Is your potential client married?
- Do they have children?
- Is he/she educated?
- How educated?
- What is their personality like?
- Who or what motivates them?
- What is their behavior like?
Build your branding
Branding is a necessary element of marketing your law firm. Your firm’s brand personality helps to connect potential clients with your practice emotionally and quickly builds trust and confidence with them. Branding also helps potential clients remember who you are and who you help.
Branding can include, but is not limited to:
- Business cards
- Logo and colors
- Thank you cards
- Client onboarding packets
- “Swag” items: pens, mugs, coasters, etc.
- Digital marketing: website, social media, digital ads, etc.
- Out-of-home advertising: billboards, park benches, public transportation ads, etc.
Your firm’s website
Your firm’s website is the foundation of your firm’s digital marketing and can help you reach your ideal client more frequently and efficiently, establish your brand personality, and drive business to your law firm. If you’re considering starting your own firm, having a robust website with high-quality content is the best way to establish yourself in your local market and start landing new clients fast.
One major purpose of your website’s content is to make your website more visible in search engines. Understanding your potential clients’ search behavior is recognizing and knowing that many of them will conduct independent research on their legal matter before making the decision to contact you. They will likely enter complex questions into a search engine such as Google to do this. For example, “What do I do after I get rear ended?” rather than “car accident lawyer Seattle.” Google then returns results based not only on relevant answers to the search query but also in relation to the location of the searcher.
This means, if potential clients are researching their legal matter in the form of complex questions on Google, your website needs to mirror this and provide the answers to the questions they are asking. If you do so successfully, you can maximize your website’s capacity for showing up in more search results. Once a potential client lands on your firm’s website, this becomes the opportunity for you to showcase your expertise as a lawyer and legal resource, building trust and confidence.
Some of the biggest obstacles new solo attorneys face when considering a website provider for their firm is the high cost, generic design, and lack of high-quality written content that is offered to them. LawLytics helps you bypass all of these obstacles and gets you ready to practice with a new website in as little as two weeks.
Creating content for practice area pages is now quick and easy with the LawLytics content generation tool. Members can choose from over 200 practice area topics, fill out the customization prompts, and publish new pages to their LawLytics website in just minutes. Each practice area content template is thoughtfully edited by an attorney and packed with SEO elements that help increase your website’s visibility on search engines. With ten practice areas and more to come, you can feel confident setting out on your solo journey.
Your growth plan
Part of creating a useful growth plan for your law firm is figuring out both the financial and physical goals of your business. Meaning, knowing what success looks like to you monetarily and how this will need to be supported with resources. Once you have an idea of what this looks like on paper, a good growth plan will support these milestones in stages.
Your financial growth plan will require a clear plan for banking, sending invoices, and accounting. You will also need to make some decisions on setting your fee for each service you offer, and have an idea of how you intend to scale this as you grow. There may be a learning curve to perfecting the management of your finances, but there are many useful practice management softwares that can be used to support you. (Tip: Your LawLytics website seamlessly integrates practice management software).
To prepare for future growth from a solo practitioner to a small law firm, consider how you would efficiently scale your staff to support the needs of your business. Depending on your practice, there are a few routes you can take – from adding a paralegal, taking on a partner, or finding an “of counsel.” Or, perhaps you will find you’re covered with a legal assistant or a personal assistant. However you scale, having clear workplace expectations and also clear processes for intakes, scheduling, filing, and other internal operations will set you up for success with new hires.