Starting your own firm is an exciting time for an attorney or team of attorneys. Whether you are freshly out of law school or a seasoned practitioner ready to take on a solo practice, there are a number of things to consider when determining if starting your own firm is right for you. Depending upon the area of law in which you specialize, developing your own practice can become much more lucrative than working for a larger corporation. However, practicing under a large corporation can also have its advantages.
In order to develop a successful practice, you need to first establish what area of law you will specialize in, whether it is criminal law, corporate, family, personal injury, estate planning, or any other area. Sometimes practicing under a general umbrella that claims to deal with all areas of law may be too cumbersome and expose you to increased liability. There will be a period in which starting a law firm may seem difficult and you may struggle, or you may hit the ground running. In either case, you will need to learn how to effectively advertise your firm and its practice, as well as prepare for both scenarios by gaining access to the necessary tools needed for case law and research and management.
Today, solo practicing is a common and easy way for attorneys to make an income, choose the amount of work they take on, as well as what areas they seek to practice. While practitioners differ as to what is important in their practice, one factor all attorneys should work into their budget is the cost of malpractice insurance. With 5% to 6% of all private attorneys facing malpractice suits each year, insulating yourself from liability can be crucial. Unfortunately, clients who are unhappy with the outcome of their cases may come after your practice, especially if they see that it is doing well. Maintaining liability malpractice insurance will help ease the burden in the event something happens to a member of your legal team, and will not set you back years of work.
When just starting out, you may be able to do most things on your own, but it is important to have backup in case things take off quickly and you find yourself with additional work that you cannot turn down. On top of case work, maintaining accounting and administrative work is critical in order to ensure you are paid on time for the work performed. Just as importantly, during tax season, you will want to be able to quickly call upon the work performed in order to properly report to the IRS what is needed.