As a new graduate, you might be wondering what to do next. Should go about looking for work, or should you start your own practice? Both of these choices will impact your career in a positive way.
However, with the pandemic, many law firms are laying off some of their workers. Meaning, it’ll be harder for a fresh graduate to find work easily. That’s why I have put together this article with 10 tips to start your own practice right out of law school.
To have a steady paycheck and life outside work, at first, starting a law practice out of law school will not give you that. You will need to work extra hard, face a lot of challenges, and embrace unsteady income for a while.
For the faint-hearted, they’ll probably give up within a few months of starting. However, if it is your passion, these challenges will seem like small obstacles you will overcome with time. In the long run, the process will be exciting and rewarding!
2. Have a plan and a vision.
Start by creating a vision. What will be your goal? What are your core values? From here, create a business plan that aligns with your vision and helps track it. What will be your expenses? Include all the expenses in your plan.
Rent, utilities, phone, internet, and even marketing expenses. How will you cover them before the firm begins making revenue? How will charge your clients to cover all of them? Be as detailed as possible here. Start with the basics and have lawyers who have successfully started their practice run by the plan.
3. Pick a niche.
The days where you’d start with whatever came through the door are gone. It is very critical to pick one or two areas of law and focus solely on them. It helps if you have experience working, clerking, or volunteering in these areas.
This will make sure you become the best at what you choose. It’ll even make it easier for you to build a network. If you haven’t completed school yet, pick up these skills while still in school. You can also go through this website to find a free legal database.
4. Pick the right area of law.
Just like in business, some areas will be harder to break into than others. For example, a solo practitioner cannot start a law firm straight out of school and form fortune clients. Mostly, there has to be a history of success and great relationships with attorneys to get those clients.
On the other hand, however, clients in criminal defense, employment law, and family law are not picky. They are looking for a lawyer who sympathizes with them and cares. Once you identify with them, boom, you have clients. If you are out of school and want to refresh your knowledge for free, look at this website for guidance.
5. Find a network and a mentor.
Find an experienced attorney who will mentor you and who you can call for advice or in case you have questions. On top of that, form a network that you can rely on. Add as much value to your work as you possibly can.
Other than always taking from your network, mentors, and/or referrals, make sure you have something you can give back as well. This will keep these relationships positive.
6. Market yourself.
The most effective way you can do this is by building a website (for free) or starting a blog. You can go a step further and ask newspapers if you can write guest articles. To be an expert follow the leads of big law firms and become an expert by volunteering to be a speaker or a writer.
You can try out both traditional and non-traditional marketing techniques and see what works best for you. This website will also give you an insight into what potential clients look for. Educate yourself and better your marketing strategies.
7. Put in the work.
You’ve got your jurisdiction permits, established what you want to do, and laid down a plan. Awesome. Now it’s time to put in the work. When you decide to start a law firm out of law school, you also become your marketer, accountant, secretary, and CEO.
All of these roles will demand energy and time from you. Be ready to put in long hours of work consistently. You will also develop new skills in the lines of accounting, marketing, as well as entrepreneurship. This makes it exciting and interesting and time-consuming too.
8. Evaluate regularly.
Every week, set aside a few hours where you evaluate what is working and what is not. Are those marketing techniques you put in place working? Are there some that aren’t? Ramp up the ones that are working and focus on those, dropping the ones that aren’t.
Are there some law areas you like better? Focus on increasing your clients in that area. Taking the time out weekly for evaluation is very crucial for your law business success.
9. Remember, clients, don’t care about your law degree or age.
The only people that care about these things are other lawyers. Your clients don’t. They care about the outcome of your work. So, focus on this, on building yourself, and let other things fall into place by themselves.
10. Ignore naysayers.
The truth is you will have so many people tell you that you need to be employed and gain practice before you can think of being a solo practitioner. Others, however, will be genuinely concerned about how you’ll make it happen.
However, learn to differentiate between the two. If you believe the critics, you’ll never start your practice. The best thing to do is ignore them and put your best foot forward. Show them you can, because you actually can!
In conclusion, starting a law firm with no experience at all is daunting. However, when you know what to do and what to focus on, the journey becomes so much easier. This article has laid down all the tips you need to make it happen. Read and follow through and watch as your law firm starts to thrive within no time.