Many legal experts reach a point in their career where they want to step out and start their own practice. Running a law firm is a challenging and rewarding experience. It can also be highly lucrative. Demand for personal injury attorneys is set to continue growing, making it an ideal specialization.
That said, you need to be aware of the operational complexities that come with getting a business off the ground. The following considerations will help to guide you in the right direction.
Cover the Basics
Here are some of the first steps that you can expect to take as you establish your PI firm:
- Understand the terms of your current contract to determine what will happen to your existing clients
- Ensure that you comply with local licensing laws
- Acquire a federal Employer Identification Number from the IRS
- Decide on an appropriate business structure and file for incorporation
- Open a business bank account that ideally extends to a line of credit
You should also take some time to look for an insurance company that provides bundled packages for your law firm launch. This typically covers your malpractice, liability, and property insurance requirements.
Crunch the Numbers
One of your first and potentially biggest roadblocks will be financing. Given the nature of a law firm, it’s a good idea to be prudent here. Aim to have your own salary and that of anyone who works with you covered for at least a year.
This is a suitable time to start drawing up a business plan, especially if you need to approach a bank or lending institution to obtain enough capital. What you can expect to have coming in and going out should be documented in detail. Remember to include the cost of office space, supplies, technology, marketing, and outsourcing.
Have a Vision
There’s more to an effective strategy than money. Lay a stronger foundation for your PI firm by covering these factors:
- Clear mission and values
- Business model based on client needs and expectations
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) that predict future success
- Competitive analysis and subsequent strategy
Know Your Client
Reframe your view to the client’s perspective. What would the experience look like? What can you do to show them that you’re the right person to handle their personal injury case? Here are some considerations:
- Structuring of rates and fees
- Communication methods
- Intake, onboarding, and delivery experience
- Process for taking in feedback to find areas for improvement
Client acquisition will be a major focus for you moving forward, so you need to have a solid marketing strategy.
Get out There
Start by investing in a modern, mobile-responsive website that’s optimized to attract your target audience. The website for Attorney Brian White is an excellent example. Other components of your online strategy may include social media pages and listings on review websites.
Detail a marketing plan that includes strategies for tracking the success of your efforts. In the end, you should have a variety of online and offline methods for communicating with potential clients and turning them into leads, as well as a glowing reputation in your community.
Planning is key. Coupled with drive and dedication, you’ll be opening a successful PI law firm in due course.