SOS Legal releases a guide on how to start a law firm

February 14, 2020

So you want to start a law firm. Maybe the idea isn't new -- you've already given it some serious thought. You've received your SRA certificate or have looked into the requirements for an SRA certificate, and have developed a vision of what your practice may be. It's a huge and exciting step, but not without its hurdles. After all, as the owner of a small law firm, you're not just a lawyer anymore -- you're a business owner, with a whole new set of issues and responsibilities. 

While SOS Legal doesn't offer consultancy services in the area of starting and setting up new law firms, we have developed a step-by-step guide for entrepreneurial lawyers, like you.  

This eBook guide is a result of the knowledge, skill and experience gathered during our years of working with small firms, and is geared toward helping you start your own small law firm.  

It's designed to offer an overview of everything you need to think about before you start your own law firm. The guide goes beyond the legal requirements set by the Law Society. It discusses all elements of running a business, from staffing and technology to budgeting and marketing. The covers the following steps:  

Step 1: Identify and Hone Your Strategy. Think about why you want to start a law firm, and what makes you stand out from others in the legal market. Identify your unique selling proposition, personal goals, and business model.  

Step 2: Itemise the Support and Services You Require. Consider the people, IT support, and software you need to run your office. You may want to bring on administrative staff and fellow solicitors as your practice grows, and need the right tools to support them.  

Step 3: Get the Right Technology. Review all of your options for in-house technology, including your server, infrastructure, and applications. Learn how to prioritise security to uphold your responsibilities as a solicitor. Consider SaaS as a solution for practice management and case management.  

Step 4: Secure the Right Professional Support. Consider options for bureau services to handle many of the daily aspects of running your office. Determine whether you want to work with an in-house accountant or provider offering a legal cashiering service. Assess whether a collaborative approach, using a bureau service and an in-house professional, is the right choice for your firm.  

Step 5: Develop a Solid Management Strategy. Think about risk management, insurance, legal requirements, and technical challenges of running a small law firm. As an employer, develop an organisational chart to ensure clear lines of reporting and allocation of duties among staff.  

Step 6: Predict and Plan for Expenses. Attach a cost assessment to everything you need to run your business, including hidden costs like taxes, tariffs, licenses, and permits. Look for ways to reduce expenses and cut your costs. Consider the benefits of using a bureau service, SaaS, and similar solutions to reduce your overhead.  

Step 7: Acquire Clients and Market Your Firm. Consider several strategies to increase your firm's profile and attract new clients. Expand and participate in referral networks, attend industry events, utilise your website for marketing, and enhance your CRM capability to remarket to existing clients.  

Why Do You Need This Guide? 

You are probably an excellent solicitor, with a clear idea of how you want to practice law, you feel that by working for a large firm, you don't have the chance to make key decisions. Those decisions may include the type of clients you take on and the kind of advice you provide. Whether you are an employee of a firm or looking to start an independent practice immediately after completing your education and licensing, it's essential to understand every aspect of running a law firm.  

After all, success doesn't come just from talent alone. You need to know all aspects of running a startup -- from predicting costs to bringing in clients. Being prepared for these issues increases the chances that your business will run smoothly in the early days. You'll be able to plan, prioritise, and develop an agenda that takes care of the practical side of your business while you focus on your forte: representing clients.  

Take a Look Now 

With drive, ambition, and hard work, you can run a successful law practice. Getting your SRA certificate is only stage 1. Learn more about what you need to know to ensure the economic viability of your law firm. By paying attention to the bottom line, you'll ensure you have the revenue you need to build the kind of firm you want -- and practice law your way. To see how, download our eBook today. 


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