Here are some of the common concerns expressed by lawyers who are thinking about starting a new law firm.
▾ General Concerns
• What should you name your new firm?
• What entity should be used to form the firm? (an LLC? an S-Corp? etc.)
▾ Initial publicity – how to best let people know you’re starting out
• When is best time to announce?
• When and how to let your old firm know that you’re leaving?
• How to avoid or minimize rancor with your old firm once you tell them that you’re leaving
• Administrative issues – unclear about how to evaluate/address
• Getting the right technology
• Needing strategic business advice
▾ Going Solo
• General fear of practicing law alone
• Concerned about not having anyone to bounce ideas off of
• Concern about loss of prestige/stature (perceived or actual)
• Where to get good legal forms? (like I can in the firm I’m in now)
• Concerns about leaving a Big Law Firm
▾ Having Partners in New Firm
• Uncertain how to get good partners
▾ Getting New Business
• Cash flow concerns – paying monthly expenses, payroll, etc.
• Concerns about getting enough clients
• Concerns about getting “bread & butter” clients
▾ Marketing Your Practice
• Should you have a website? How will you do that? Who will help?
• Business cards – where to get them? how to have them designed properly?
• Domain name? (yes, you’ll need it for @lawfirm email; and for your website)
•Announcements: how will you make it known you started your own practice?
▾ General Expenses
• Malpractice insurance costs
• Office Space – Regular, Home Office, Co-Working Space etc.
• Office Furniture – desk, chair, lighting, file-cabinets
• Technology Equipment – computer, printer, extra monitor, scanner
• Technology Software – Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Adobe Acrobat etc.
• Business Phone Service – Landline, VOIP, soft-phone
• Email account (should be set up with domain like @yourlawfirm.com)
• Accounting fees
• Bookkeeping fees
• Time & Billing software
• Legal Research service – free or paid? – FastCase, Casemaker, Westlaw, Lexis
• Practice Management software
• Technology consulting fees & costs
▾ Managing Your Firm
• Trust accounting concerns – how to set up properly? what are the requirements?
• Overwhelm – worried about not having enough help to do your work properly
▾ Staff Needs
• Hiring right support staff (can afford, but not skilled in hiring well)
• Not having support staff (cause can’t afford it)
• Delegation – not good at managing staff, or not good at letting go of tasks
• Secretarial needs (can you use software and outsourcing to do this?)
• Paralegal needs (can some of this be covered by outsourcing?)
• Receptionist (you can definitely outsource this)
▾ Practice Management Software
• Do you even need it?
• How can you choose the best option? (assuming you want it)
• Who can help you pick the best option?