Starting your own law firm straight out of law school is not a walk in the park. If it was, then every lawyer would be doing it.
Looking beyond the horizon that the crowd follows needs a strong gut to even imagine it in the first place. Your intentions are wise, but your intentions needs to be coupled with action.
If you are in law school, here is what you should be doing while you’re in school if you are thinking of starting your own law firm.
Here is my story about how I started my own law firm out of law school and a list of things you must do while in law school to start your own law firm even if you have no money.
I graduated from Southwestern Law School in 2014. The only legal experience I had under my belt was working for a small law firm specializing in personal injury and employment law.
While you’re working at an intern, you don’t get any practical advice on how to run a business – let alone, run a law firm. If you’re going to figure out how to go on your own, you really have to figure it out for yourself.
Shortly after I passed the Bar exam, I knew I couldn’t let anyone be my boss. I need my own control and I need to control my own hours. After meeting with a friend who was one year ahead of me, my friend told me that it was entirely possibly to go on your own and start your own law firm.
After receiving this advice, I decided to go on my own and build my own virtual law firm. It’s more like building your own online business. Why virtual? Because I didn’t want to be constrained to a physical office so that I could work form anywhere.
A question I frequently get asked is how I was able to get funding to start my own law firm – the good news is that there’s no funding needed to start your own virtual law firm. All you need is a website and time and dedication to put out great content and market your services.
Three years later and 500 blog articles produced on my blog later, I now operate a law firm specializing in Business Law with more than 400 clients under my belt. The kinds of services I offer are transactional services – and I focus on services that my direct competitors, such as LegalZoom, are not targeting.
What’s My Secret?
My secret sauce is this – targeting very niche services and producing lots of content on that topic to market my services. Targeting a small, specific niche is crucial.
While starting a law firm out of law school isn’t easy, I’m here to tell you that it’s definitely doable.
Here are some other practical tips I can suggest for going on your own…
Ignore the Society
People will throw their baseless opinions just because they think they can’t. But you are not them. They have never tried it, so they don’t know. Believe in yourself. Once you are confident in your goals, you have won the half of the battle.
Plan Your Steps
Spend your time in preparing a detailed business and marketing plan. Review them with the lawyers who have started their own law firm for the critique. It will be infuriating as hell, but this will be the most important stepping stones.
Whether you need funding or not (you probably won’t), estimate the costs that you have to make while schooling. You need to consider all the expenses from website hosting, bank charges, legal insurance, offline and online supplies, staffing, postage and even parking! Even the most minuscule of the category have to be taken into account.
Pick Only One Area of Law to Focus On
If you’re going to be successful running a virtual law firm online, you’re going to have to choose one area of law to focus on. The more general you are, the harder it will be for you to compete.
Be the big fish in a small pond. Repeat this to yourself every day.
Market Yourself Online
Every information needed lies digitally and not in the phonebook. As digital era is expanding every second, today, it will hardly cost you one dinner to host a website for a year.
If you don’t have the time to learn built your own website, then hire a good web-designer from the bulk on the web. Clients will judge you by keeping your website as well into consideration. You need to showcase yourself through your website. This shall be helpful in your promotions, visiting cards and direct contact referrals.
Build Your Network
Tell everyone you meet about your vision of starting your own law firm and highlighting your area of practice. Meet with the lawyers of that area, spend time with them, know the functioning and develop a relationship with them to start your web of network. Later, ask them to send you work when you get started. Be willing to work under them for some duration for free if needed. After all, the knowledge and experience you gain will be paid back in folds.
Build a network with people who don’t practice the same area, especially influencers. This shall be helpful as if they receive a case of your area, they would like to refer it to someone whom they know and trust.
The bottom line is: you can do it. Irrespective of the problems of finance or family or debt or low GPA, if you are planning, willing and focused then you can. And You will.
From EntrepreneurBusinessBlog Team
Are you a law student or know someone who is? Please, do well to share this content with them. It does not matter the country you live in, the ideas shared by Sam Mollaei in this blog post can work anywhere in the world.