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BUSINESS

A Guide To Starting Your Own Law Firm

Law is a promising field to enter — the median starting salary for new lawyers in the private sector is $135,000 and the industry as a whole is expected to grow by 8% by 2026, Chron reports. If you’re an attorney planning on setting up your own law firm, you’re likely feeling excited yet intimidated by the prospect. Fortunately, learning the right business development methods is easier than you may think.

Make connections 

Before launching your own business, work on laying the underlying groundwork while in school. Of course, you’ll be busy studying, but taking a bar prep course can help get you completely prepared with minimal hassle. A reputable course with prestigious instructors and real MBE questions, for example, will set you up for success. You’ll then be better able to set aside valuable time for networking. Arrange meetings with useful contacts like professors, lecturers, or past employers and coworkers; ask them questions about their careers and offer to help out. You’ll build trust and goodwill and they’ll be inclined to return the favor later down the line. Additionally, attending bar association meetings, alumni meetings, and business association lunches in the future can widen your network and open up business opportunities. 

Create a business plan

Creating a business plan is an essential first step you shouldn’t skip; it’s an opportunity to think objectively about the foundational details of your business and create a clear vision for the future. Ultimately, it forces you to define your firm’s direction and goals, so you can avoid potentially disastrous and expensive mistakes in the future. In particular, your plan should include your firm’s mission statement and objectives, competitive advantages, financial details (specifically, your initial budget, ongoing budget, and long-term profit and loss estimates), and your marketing strategy. You’ll also have to plan the location of your practice, as well as research potential client markets. And, even though you’re just beginning, including an exit strategy now will leave you fully prepared for the future — whether you end up planning to sell to a third-party or added partners. 

Form your own business entity 

It’s important to choose the right type of legal entity for your practice. Usually, it’s best to avoid both traditional partnerships and sole proprietorships; these options come without asset protection and both you and your partners will be held fully accountable for business liabilities or costs. Similarly, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) end up leaving one single partner solely responsible for the entire practice. Your best option therefore will likely be a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Not only is it relatively affordable and easy to set up and maintain, but it also provides protection for your personal finances and assets. There’s also less administrative paperwork involved. 

Starting your own law firm is no easy feat and involves physical, financial, and emotional challenges. Expanding your network, creating a business plan, and forming the right business entity will set you off on the right foot and help grow your business successfully.

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