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?
Thinking about starting your own firm?
If you’re considering starting your own firm you probably want some expert guidance to help answer your pressing questions, and to give you a step-by-step execution plan.