You’ve just finished law school, maybe you’ve got yourself a cushy internship, but you want to do a Nelson and Murdoch and set up your own firm … without all the superhero stuff, presumably. Therein is the problem: how do you even go about setting up your own firm. Before I even begin with the details, you need to know that what you want to do is not going to be easy and there will be a lot of uncertainty before you even get yourself to a stable position, but if you still want to go ahead with it, who am I to stop you?
Stating you want to set up a law firm can be like telling people you are going to be a Hollywood super star; everyone will tell you it can’t be done. The only way to succeed at this is to completely ignore them. Stay focused and positive, because there will be hundreds of people telling you that you are going to fail.
Don’t be a Jack of All Trades, Master of None
Any law firm entrepreneur will tell you this advice: pick one or two areas of law to specialise in. If you try and do everything that knocks on your door, you will find that you won’t be good at anything and your reputation will slowly decline to the point where you need to go and work at MacDonald’s … or wherever failed lawyers go. Your area can be as niche as KelsoLawyers.com dealing with the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse or as broad as a divorce lawyer, but make sure you focus your efforts and become a master in your field.
This is quite possibly the key to running your own law firm. Referrals and repeat business will probably make up over 80% of your time and so your first job is to cultivate referrals as quickly as possible as they don’t just happen by themselves – at least not at the beginning. Ask existing lawyers; tell as many people as possible that you are a lawyer; hand out business cards to people on the street. Get your name out there, do a good job, and people will come back and refer to you their friends and family.
Even though most of your business will come from referrals, there will also be a large portion that comes in from internet searches (so it’s a good idea to make friends with a good digital marketing company) and so this means that you will need to get yourself a website that works. Pack it with interesting information, case studies, and testimonials, and make this the first thing you do as it is necessary, because even referrals will probably check your site out first to make sure you are right for them.
Starting a law firm will be hard, but with perseverance and the right knowledge, you will be sat in a Sydney penthouse overlooking the bay in no time!