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.
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.
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.