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Checklist For Starting A Law Firm

If you are thinking of starting your own law firm, there are many things that you need to do. It is recommended that you create a checklist that can help you keep track of everything. The checklist that you use will need to be based on your personal needs, but there are certain points that you need to include.

A Name For The Firm

The name of your new law firm is important because it needs to be easy to remember and identify. Traditionally, law firms have been named after the founders, but there are many lawyers who are moving away from this. These lawyers feel that continuing with this tradition will not help their law firm stand out from the crowd. Once you have the name of your firm, you need to buy the domain name as well so that you are ready to set up your website.

Watch this informational video for more tips about starting your own law firm:

Choose A Location

The importance of a location for your law firm has diminished over the years with many lawyers running their law firm from home. This is a good idea when you are starting out and have financial restrictions. However, it is important to note that running your law firm from your home is not a viable long-term option so finding a location when you start might be the best solution. Sharing an office when you are starting out is also a great way to lower the financial costs.

Permits, Licenses And Identification Numbers

Regardless of where you are going to be opening your law firm, you are going to need a federal Employer ID number or EIN. You will also need to look at the local and state licensing requirements for opening a law firm in your chosen location. If you are thinking of opening a law firm in a different state, it is important to note that you will have to take the state bar exam again for that state before you can take on clients.

Get Office Equipment

Office equipment is something that most people leave to last and this is not a good idea. Most new law firms have limited funding to spend on setting up their office. With this being the case, you should start looking for office equipment as soon as you can because you might be able to find some bargains. The equipment that you need to focus on includes the telephone system, computers, software, printers, scanners and a photocopy machine.

Access To A Law Library

All law firms need to have access to a law library if they want to run correctly. The problem with having your own law library is that it can become expensive as practice guides and case laws are constantly being updated. The best way to overcome this problem is to choose a location for your law firm that is close to a law library. You will probably have to pay to gain access to the library, but this will be a much smaller cost than buying all of the books yourself.

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Social Media For Law Firms

If you are going to use social media for your law firm, this is a great way to attract potential clients. It is difficult to find people that will be looking for lawyers in your particular area of expertise if you do not advertise. For example, if you are a family law attorney that specializes in divorce or child custody, you need to attract people that are currently going through this type of situation. They are highly motivated, but if they do not know that you exist, then it is unlikely that you will be able to make money from your legal practice. Social media is a fantastic way to get this done. Here is an excellent way to use social media for law firms in order to make money.

How Social Media Can Help Businesses

Social media is able to help a multitude of different businesses find clients that can help them out. For example, if you are able to create a Facebook page which is showcasing all of the different types of law that you practice, people are bound to share your links with people that they know that need this type of help. Whether you do criminal law, or if you are a lawyer that can help with bankruptcies, they will be there to help you. It really is that easy to use social media, and the ability to share your page, to generate more clients.

Should You Use Social Media Advertising?

There are two ways that you should use social media advertising. Let’s use Facebook as an example again. You should initially do a “like” campaign so that you can build a list of followers. You will put up interesting legal advice for people, allowing them to use your information, or at least get introduced to what it is that you specialize in. This will allow you to be identified as an expert in this field, and as a result of that, people will share your page with others. The other form of advertising is similar to Google and its PPC network. You are simply targeting keywords and demographics for people that are in the area. This can help drive hundreds or thousands of people to your Facebook page, and eventually your website.

Is Social Media Better Than PPC Advertising?

Social media is not necessarily better, but so many people today are on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that it is expected of businesses today. They are looking for information to validate the companies that they want to work with, and if your legal practice has a Facebook and Twitter page, this is going to give you credibility. Your social media page should link directly to your website, and your contact information. This is how you will be able to build a solid legal practice with the help of social media.

Law firms need to have a social media page today. It is expected, and without it, you stand to lose some credibility. It’s also a great way of providing tips and strategies for people that can use them, at least in part, and then may need your services to complete the legal process they are going through. It really is that easy to use social media to help you build your legal practice.

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Setting Up a Law Firm

Setting Up a Law Firm

Setting up a law firm is not easy, but fortunately, there are plenty of sources from which help is available. What is required is a considerable investment of money, energy and time and you should keep in mind that the current legal environment is not conducive to small firms. However, the prospects mean that 812 firms were set up last year and more than 1000 in 2016.

If there are two or more partners and shareholders, you should ensure that a proper written agreement is executed to record the important elements, including the terms of ownership. Choosing the most suitable business structure is important and the big decision is whether a company or an LLP is used.

Planning for business and starting up

However, business plans will be required by your bank and they are a good way to tell your insurance broker what is planned for the firm. Choose the business structure depending on the circumstances and arrive at agreement on the responsibility for compliance and management.

Consultants should be used to supply the missing skins and ensure that the bank provide input on the business plan. Marketing plans should be drawn up, including the retention of existing clients and decisions should be taken on funding and the generation of cash flow. It is recommended that you build up a loyal clientele to take you at least through the first 12 months.

Ongoing operations

Plenty of time will be required to be devoted to running the business side of things as opposed to actually practicing law, and this should be taken into account. People might realize that there is plenty of work and time involved in the beginning, but most of them do not realize how much the ongoing operations can take out of you. This will inevitably have an impact on business development. Work can be outsourced in many areas, but responsibility for issues like compliance lie fairly and squarely with the partners.

Lawyers who leave larger firms to start smaller ones might face client issues which require specialists not available in the new business. In this case, formal or informal understandings and networks need to be established with other law firm to fill out these gaps. Finally, there is the issue, however unpleasant, of exit strategy to be addressed. It could be a major problem if it is discovered that the business is not working out. And yet the business cannot be sold or otherwise disposed of.

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How to Market Your Law Firm in the Modern World

How to Market Your Law Firm

Since the dawn of the internet age, many law firms are stumped at how to market their firms to get new business. Experts advice that at least 200 hours per year must be spent on marketing your law firm and that you have to budget at least 2.5% of your gross income for marketing. Here are five tips for marketing your law firm.

Start with a decent website

It is critical to have a well-designed website that is mobile friendly and easy to navigate. LawLytics is specifically aimed at helping law firms get a solid online presence. It doesn’t just stop at having a flashy website; you must also have quality content and video. The questions you need to ask when creating content for your website is:

  • Is the content relevant and interesting to your clients?
  • Is it easy to read and not cluttered with law jargon?
  • Is it short and chunky with lots of breaks between texts?
  • Is it visually appealing with good quality photos or videos?

Savvy seo for local search engines

Your law firm is set in a specific geographical site and it’s important that your search engine optimisation is geared towards local searches. Brightlocal.com is an excellent SEO service that will help you to track your rankings on local searches and to benchmark your marketing effectiveness against competitors. If you’re serious about marketing your business on local search engines, BrightLocal is the way to go.  Here is a video on how to use BrightLocal.

Learning from the best

Get up to speed with the latest and best marketing tricks by following experts online. Moz.com will help you to refine your skills with blog post on topics such as identifying product page keywords. There are two guys that are worth the effort to follow on twitter: Gyi Tsakalakis and Conraad Saam.

Get involved in trade associations and conferences

You’ll be surrounding yourself with potential clients as well as experts. The trick is to be actively involved. Don’t just attend – give a speech and network your but off. Ask current clients to introduce you to their friends and network partners. After the fact, you can pursue new clients you’ll know some prospective new clients to contact face-to-face.

Lawyer to client interaction

There is still a lot to be said about old-school relationship building. Take time to build a solid and trusted relationship with current clients; you are bound to get new work as well as referrals this way. Tom Kane from the Legal Marketing Blog has excellent advice on face-to-face marketing that is still very relevant into today’s day and age.

Use these five tools and you’ll rev up your marketing strategy with ease.