Business Tips for Running a Law Firm
Starting a law firm can be exciting and intimidating. Launching a law firm means choosing an area of practice, setting up an office, and finding clients. You also have to think about what you need to do to grow your practice and expand your clientele. Take a look at some important tips to keep in mind when running a law firm.
Build a Business Plan
Writing down your mission statement, laying out the competitive advantages of your practice, planning the financials, and building a marketing strategy gives you a clear vision of your business now and in the future. You’ll need to consider a startup budget and a monthly budget, as well as researching client markets and how much capital you’ll need to operate in the first quarter. When writing a business plan, you need to define what areas of law your firm will practice.
A great example of someone turning a passion for helping people into a successful legal career is Malliha Wilson. The Tamil-Canadian lawyer served as the assistant deputy attorney general of the Government of Ontario. She was the senior appellate litigation counsel with the Ontario Government for over three decades, where she participated in notable cases at the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Today, Malliha Wilson is the senior partner at Nava Wilson LLP, where she specializes in complex litigation, international human rights, and labour law.
Plan Your Finances
You’ll need a dedicated business account to make cash deposits and pay business expenses. You can open an operating account, trust account, or Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA). It’s important to set aside money for business taxes, registration fees, and other licensing fees. Find out what business tax liabilities you’ll be subject to and when these liabilities are due. Create a budget for your marketing and advertising expenses, and determine the different types of insurance your small business will need.
The last thing you want to do as a business owner is to pay more out-of-pocket costs than necessary. Opening a business checking account is necessary for any small business. Not all financial institutions offer the same products to help you manage your business finances. It’s always important to understand if there are monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance requirements, limitations or fees on withdrawals, and fees for merchant services.
Generations Bank offers business checking account options with convenient features like online banking, competitive rates for business debit card and credit card transactions, a low minimum opening deposit, and minimal or no monthly service fee.
Decide On a Virtual or Real Office
COVID-19 has caused many small businesses to shift to a remote or virtual office setup. Starting a home-based law firm is a great way to enjoy a work-life balance and keep your overhead costs low. If you decide to operate a home office, it’s important to ensure you have a professional place in which to meet clients. With today’s technology, you can easily operate a virtual law firm, collaborate with colleagues, and meet client needs.
No small business will grow and succeed without building a strong network. Build a network of lawyers by going to local bar functions, participating in community events, and holding a position on a community board. A good lawyer knows how to integrate into the neighborhood. It’s a good idea to become a subject matter expert, volunteer in the community, and donate your services pro bono to local charities.
Build a Website
Build a professional quality website that potential clients can easily find on Google. Your business website is the first impression potential clients will have of your legal practice. It should include legal profiles, areas of practice, information about your law firm, and client testimonials. A business website is a key element of a successful marketing plan. You need to promote your business because the strength of your marketing efforts affects how many potential clients you reach and earn.
Running a law firm requires a business plan, planning your business finances, networking, and marketing.