How to Build and Manage a Personal Injury Practice
If you’re thinking of breaking off on your own and starting a personal injury law firm, the following post has helpful tips and things to consider before you get started.
Starting, and especially maintaining, a successful personal injury practice may be one of the most challenging feats you accomplish in your legal career.
But, starting a personal injury law practice can be one of the most rewarding.
Early success during law school and success early in your career may have influenced your decision to step out on your own.
However, juggling a heavy personal injury caseload while figuring out all the operational complexities that come with running your own firm can make even the most capable PI attorney feel stressed.
But for the attorneys brave enough to take the plunge and start their own law practice, below are a few things you should consider before putting in your notice and starting your very own personal injury practice.
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Never Look Back
This is true for any new venture you start in life.
Before you build your own law practice, you have to realize what you’re leaving, and then you have to go full steam ahead when you start your practice.
Many attorneys that set out to build their own personal injury firm don’t have the necessary experience, contacts, or the network they need to be successful.
Before you leave your current job, consider whether your current and past positions have set you up to succeed by yourself.
Before putting in your notice, take a look at your contractual obligations at your current firm.
Can you take your current clients with you, or will you have to leave them behind?
Being able to take current clients with you will give you a leg up when you get started on your own.
Personal injury law is unique because cases are often handled by one primary contact instead of a larger team.
If you’re in the middle of a case when you decide to set off on your own, you may assume that all of your open cases can travel with you to your new firm.
But the first rule of starting anything new is that you shouldn’t assume anything.
Read through your contract with a fine-toothed comb and figure out what’s allowed.
Stepping out on your own may mean starting from scratch, but if you’re genuinely driven and ready to network your way to success, new clients will come your way.
Another thing to consider before leaving your current firm is your experience level.
Have you gained enough experience to start your own personal injury law firm?
It’s possible to gain many of the skills you need to excel in your own practice in your current job.
You should be comfortable with things like business finances and employee management before you make the jump to self-employment.
Have A Detailed Plan and Understand How You’ll Make and Spend Money
Starting a successful personal injury firm, or any new business for that matter requires real business savvy.
We’ve all heard the stats.
20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small businesses fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business.
Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business.
The numbers are similar with law firms.
So before starting your firm, get a detailed business plan in place.
And make sure the only place this plan exists isn’t just in your head.
Put pen to paper.
Map out your business growth and revenue goals, marketing channels, technology strategy, and other details in black and white so they can be referenced at any time.
Considering items like these before you throw yourself into running your own firm is critical to your success, especially when you first get started.
Your firm will live and die by its budget, so getting clear on what your revenue and expenses will be early on is crucial.
If you’re lucky enough to be starting your firm with a handful of existing clients, project the revenues you’ll earn from them for the first year of business.
Then you can add in a reasonable amount of month-over-month revenue growth.
In your first months on your own, estimating overhead is usually easier than figuring revenue, especially if you can’t take your clients with you.
Make sure your budget includes a reasonable salary for yourself and any employees you plan to hire, legal tech costs, office space, and outsourced expenses and keep things lean where you can.
And just a side note: Inc says your firm should be generating at least $150,000 in revenue each year per employee you hire.
So if you’re planning on starting out as a solo practice, you should consider home consults in those first few months to save money on office space.
Or, there are coworking spaces available in many cities now if you need cheap office space.
Research Legal Technology
Figuring out your legal technology needs and finding the right tools to address them has to be one of your top considerations before starting on your own.
Legal tech has come a long way in recent years, especially in the personal injury space.
Personal injury law can sometimes mean dealing with never-ending stacks of liability paperwork and time-consuming forms.
But personal injury practice software will significantly reduce the time spent on document preparation and management.
But with all the options available, finding the right legal tech tools can still be confusing, especially when you’re first starting out.
Not all legal tech tools are built for personal injury firms.
They don’t all emphasize business growth, and many of the options you may encounter will be better suited for larger firms.
CoCounselor is the only cloud-based practice management solution designed with the Personal Injury Firm in mind.
With it, you will gain operational efficiencies, keep your staff on the same page, work from anywhere on any device, and build valuable dashboards and reports that will keep you up-to-date on important deadlines and the overall health of your firm.
With custom reports and dashboards through CoCounselor, your new firm can easily find and assess your key information.
You will be able to:
- Track marketing campaigns and prospect costs
- Schedule your reports to send out daily or weekly to get a pulse on your firm
- Track daily employee/firm performance, analyze case lifecycle from intake to settlement/verdict and forecast future success
With CoCounselor, you can also integrate with thousands of apps accessible through the Salesforce AppExchange to connect the systems that are most important to your firm, such as DocuSign, Zipwhip, Outlook, and more.
Starting your very own personal injury practice from scratch is a tall order.
However, it’s also an incredibly rewarding endeavor.
Spend some time thinking through the considerations we talked about above and get a plan in order.
When you’re ready to move forward and need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us at CoCounselor.
CoCounselor offers a demo for every new personal injury practice so you can see how the program will work for your new practice.
For more information and to get started on your new journey, call us at 404-419-7893.