Now that you’re done with law school, what next? Many graduates ponder this question and sometimes find it hard to decide which path to take. Covid hit hard on most businesses, including the legal industry. As a result, law firms have had to cut down on expenditures, including laying off employees.
As a result, fresh graduates might find it hard to get employed at law firms. However, this might just be the right time to start a law firm. For example, you could focus on providing experienced lawyers for medical malpractice cases.
It might feel scary and intimidating, and you probably have millions of questions about how you could ever pull this off. So here are some tips on how you can get started and succeed.
Find Out What You Want to Focus On
Most law firms today major in one or two aspects of the law. There’s a good reason for this. As time goes by, laws are changed, and new ones are made. Running a “whatever comes in” law firm is a recipe for disaster. Instead, you need to pick one area of law to focus on and get really good at it (such as personal injury, family law, taxes, estate planning, etc.). This will ensure you provide your clients with the best representation. Also, great service and reputation double as free advertising for your firm, which in the long run, promotes your firm’s growth.
Plan Ahead and Never Stop
Having a detailed plan for starting and running your law firm is important. You can research the different law firm models and find out which suits you best. If possible, try and find a seasoned lawyer and have them critique your plan.
You can get a lot of value from people who’ve done it successfully. However, it is also important to acquaint yourself with the costs of running a law firm. It is normal to run on a budget deficit the first few months, and breaking even is rare in most cases. You, therefore, need to have sufficient money to keep your law firm running before you start becoming profitable. During this phase, it’s important to cut expenditures as much as possible.
Be Receptive to Feedback and Shan Discouragement
Starting and running a law firm isn’t easy; however, if you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. It is important to be receptive and develop tough skin for negative people. You might be at a disadvantage due to lack of experience, but also you can view this as an opportunity to start early and learn from others. Most people don’t start a law firm straight from school, so they naturally won’t believe you can pull it off. Instead, seek out people who’ve been there and started fresh out of law school. These are the best people to learn from since they understand your situation and can give you tailored advice.
It is also important to be receptive and take feedback from these people. As Sarah Jakes puts it, “humility can take you places talent will never get you.”
Build a Referral Network
Having a referral network will help you grow quickly. Reach out to lawyers who practice the area of law in which you want to build your business. Try and engage with them as often as possible. Most of these established lawyers will be happy to help you with industry insights and even become brand ambassadors, consultants, partners, etc. Ask them where and how they get cases, how to build relationships in the industry, etc.
Tap into the existing resources on starting a law business workbook, managing such a business, marketing it, etc. Connecting with people versed in law firm management and not just with attorneys would be beneficial. Get in touch with financial experts, chief operating officers, corporate CEOs, IT specialists, communication experts, etc. You can learn something from each of them and outsource them for sensitive law firm tasks, such as accounting, risk management, staffing, etc.
Once you establish a solid relationship with these professionals, you’re on your way to a solid referral network. Over time this will start to pay off, and you’ll start getting referrals from your new friends in the industry.
We all have different interests and ambitions in life. Starting a law firm straight from law school might seem over-ambitious, but ambition is exactly what you need to pull it off. Good luck!