Decisions You Need to Make When Starting a Law Firm


When you think of high paying careers, being a lawyer may be one of the careers that comes to mind. Sure, the pay is good, but you’re still an employee, subject to someone else’s schedule and decisions regarding what you should be paid. Starting a law firm can be an exciting way to become your own boss. If that’s a route you decide to pursue, there are some decisions you need to make as you get started.


There are many disciplines within legal practice. Most law firms specialize in a specific discipline that they practice. You’ll need to make a decision about what your firm’s specialty will be. You could choose your firm’s specialty to be in line with your own. If you intend to practice within your own firm, that could be a good idea. Otherwise, if you intend to be less involved with actually practicing yourself, you don’t have to be limited by what you personally specialize in. Consider the area you’re located in. If there’s a need for a specific type of practice in your area, that may be a good option to pursue.

Your Firm’s Goals

Success often relies heavily on meeting prescribed goals and metrics. Set those goals early on so you have something to shoot for. It’s important to be prepared to be flexible and make adjustments if your goals don’t turn out to be realistic, especially at the beginning. That said, goals drive performance and give you something to measure up against. You should have an idea of what benchmarks you need to meet in order to make ends meet for your business. From there you can determine things like how many billable hours or tasks you need to accomplish in a day or even an hour. Establishing these goals will help you bring in the income your firm needs in order to be a profitable business.

How to Charge Clients

If you don’t get paid, you won’t be able to stay in business. From the beginning, it’s important to have established how you intend to charge your clients. There are different ways a lawyer can charge their clients depending on the services they are paying for. It’s also necessary to have a functional billing system set up. You’ll need to decide how you’re going to take payments from your clients. It may be beneficial to offer multiple options to cater to the needs of different clients. Few will want to pay in cash, but many may find paying online to be an attractive option. Learn what your clients’ preferences are in regards to receiving invoices and making payments so they are more likely to pay their bills on time.

Who to Hire

Law firms aren’t typically a business of one. You’ll need to decide who you’re going to hire to fill the different positions in your firm. A team of high quality attorneys is a must. Look for attorneys who specialize in your firm’s chosen discipline and have a good track record. You’ll also need to hire legal assistants, secretaries, clerks, and the rest of your C level executive staff. Screen each of your prospective employees carefully. They need to have the right aptitude for the job and display the ability to perform quality work under pressure.

How to Market Your Firm

A law firm that doesn’t market itself is a law firm that doesn’t have clients and is going to end up going out of business. You need to decide how you intend to market your law firm. Are you going to use traditional marketing methods? Will you focus more on digital marketing? How much are you budgeting to market your firm? These decisions can make a real difference in how easily you are able to attract clients. Get started marketing even before you’re open for business.

There are a lot of decisions to make when you start your own law firm. You’ll need to decide your specialization and goals. There are matters of payment to decide. You’ll need employees too, so figuring out who to hire is also important. Acquiring clients is a must, which means you’ll need to find ways to market your firm. These decisions are important if you want to set up a successful firm. Research your options thoroughly before deciding on your choices.

Read this next: Financial Threats to Your Business and How to Deal with Them


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