What do you need to start up your own law firm?
So, you’re looking to start your own law firm? Excellent! The idea of setting a firm up may seem tricky but there are many factors to think about and keep in mind. That’s why we’re here to make sure you hit the ground running with these helpful tips:
First things first, you’ll need to get your hands on SRA’s 14-page form FA1 (Firm Authorisation Application Form) which is the form needed for most solicitors seeking to set up a new firm. Although, there may be others where ownership and management would involve non-lawyers. As well as this, before setting up the law firm, solicitors are recommended to consult the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 and the SRA Practice Framework Rules. Which, combined totals roughly 150 pages and this is just the start of your journey.
What type of firm?
Before starting the process of building your law firm, knowing what type of firm you want to be is crucial to moving forward with the process. Decisions such as whether you want to be a limited liability partnership company (LLP) or not. Also, whether you want to have an alternative business structure (ABS), which since 2007, would allow for non-lawyers to have a financial stake in your law firm down the line. These decisions would set the basis for both setting up the rest of the firm and putting in place potential later employment plans.
Name and branding
Time to make a name for yourself. You may have hundreds of ideas buzzing through your mind – it’s an important decision. Your firms branding is extremely important, it is the first impression potential clients will have when finding your company.
When deciding what your specialism is, this could be an element incorporated into the naming of your firm. Keeping it simple and straight forward is effective but if you are looking for something more ambitious, be sure to do a bit of research into the representations of the word/words and whether certain names have been used before. All of this planning and preparation will contribute to the overall branding and potential popularity of your firm.
Being brand focused should continue onto things like your website, internal design and
your business collateral. Elements like the website should be extremely user-friendly and contain all the relevant information potential clients will need to know about you and your services.
Be sure to make sure your site is optimised to be found better on Google, so clients don’t need to go searching too hard for you. Also, thinking about your business collateral can have a lasting effect on whether your firm is memorable or not. Specially designed pens, notepads and letterheads showcase your company’s best features and enable you to stand out from the crowd.
Building the firm
Starting your law firm has the potential of being costly. You need to make sure you’ve prepared for at least the basics before throwing yourself into the deep end. Let’s start with the paperwork. In order to start up your law firm, you’ll need to make sure you have professional liability insurance, with a bit of research, it’s possible to get discount so be sure to look into it. As well as this, make sure to set some money aside to pay your professional dues, after all, what would be the point in a law firm that couldn’t practice law because of failure to pay dues?
Office space is an essential, as you and your future employees will need somewhere to work. Try finding a place that suits how people want to see your business. Costs for an office space would differ depending on factors like the geographical location and how big you want to office to be. It would be wise to account for office furnishings and supplies also. Planning for the technology that will need to be used will also need to be added to your budget. With the rise of legal technology becoming more and more popular, you and your new firm will need to integrate this in order to remain relevant in today’s society.
Be confident & Build a network
Being the new firm on the block may seem hard. Make sure to be confident in your work but not to the point where you’re going overboard and build a useful network with fellow graduates or firms that you may be close to in order to build a reputation in the industry.
With these handy tips, you’re such to get a running start with your law firm. Just remember if you need help with hiring, Zest Recruitment is here to assist.