How do I start a law firm without cash?
I am looking to start a solo legal practice in civil and commercial litigation as well as class actions. However, because I am low on cash, I need strategies to obtain contracts and grow my business step by step while limiting my needs for financing. I am looking for general advice or to learn about services or concepts that already exist and work well.
For a while a home office to start. Meet clients at a Starbucks. You need to define exactly what clients you are looking to obtain.Small custom defined marketing strategy. 10 to 20 pieces. Define your uniqueness somehow. Find people that will barter for your services or take on projects on a performance basis. You pay more in long run but initial outlay is small. I can provide these for you or point you in the right direction.
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You might find some branches of legal practice that aren't your preference and select several other lawyers who would appreciate that business and let them buy in for the first shot at those clients. Partnering with contract lawyers for example, if they won't be handling your area of practice it still lets you add to the services you offer and possibly finances the whole thing.
There are a variety of ways to do this depending upon where you intend to practice and what you need to practice.
The first thing you might want to do is look for a firm to share space with and offer your services in lieu of rent.
Your immediate cash need will be for a computer, which I assume you have and software such as timeslips or an online time keeping service such as trurbolaw ($30 month).
If you need additional forms you need to be selective in what software you buy or what forms you get as well as what you use for research. Some Bar Associations include access to Casemaker or other case research tools as part of the membership.
I would recommend you get malpractice insurance as well.
The biggest issue is financing a class action law suit, you may need to partner that kind of case with another firm with greater resources. Likewise in commercial litigation you should ask for a retainer large enough to cover at least the costs, if not a legal fee.
On contingency cases, advancing costs is always an issue. In the beginning you will need to be very selective on what cases you take on contingency both as to quality of the case and the cost of getting to trial.
If you are looking for financing for certain kinds of cases there are companies that will loan you money against a portion of the anticipated judgment. I do not deal with them but they exist and are not ease to find.
Depends how good you want to be, my sister has her own firm as well, I can put you in touch with her, as she is a lawyer in Houston, TX.
Start a blog - it's free and very powerful. Download this guide on blogging - http://hubs.ly/y0lXj-0
Your blog shouldn't be self serving. Be willing to give away some of your knowledge - this will show others that you have the knowledge. My advice for a blog is to ask a question, something your clients would ask you and then use the blog as a means of answering that question.
I'd also write a whitepaper/ebook called something like '10 Things You Should Know About Civil Litigation" or "Hints and Tips on Commercial Litigation" then in exchange for this article ask for an email address and let visitors to your website download these articles.
Then share the blog on social media to attract an audience.
Hope that helps?
Many start-ups decide to open their business without putting their cash flow at risk. One thing that helped me out very well at first was reaching out and becoming a member of SBA (Small Business Administration). You should set up an appointment and they can provide you with great advice on how to open your LLP as well as how to be part of programs that could help you be successful. I have had my business for three years and the advice from the SBA was really important. All the best and I wish you great success on opening your business!
You need to start with a preliminary business plan outlining the following details:
* Determine the regional / geographic area, where your potential clients are ( It has to be specific with all the correct updated data )
* Determine the target group of your potential clients, profiles, locations, addresses, hobbies ( market research, even by phone, by using a simple form of a questionnaire )
* Define clearly the scope of your services
* Prepare a layout of an advertisement, like flier, letter ( non expensive "below the line adds, where You and your services can catch the eye of the target group, that includes your potential clients)
* Determine the location of your office, cost of furnishing it.
* Determine the marketing and advertisement scope, my suggestion will be adds in the press media ( potentially used by your target group of clients ), letters, e-mails, or small gifts (indicating a catch of your business brand)
*Review all, edit carefully.
*Take this preliminary business project and review with a investment of business associate of your bank or any other bank
* Finish the business plan and submit to a bank or investment joint
In my opinion the best way is to be focused on small companies which wont ask you 3 years in past of information as Revenue, Margin, ...If you are low in cash stay focused on small and fast deals because today our enemy is the duration of customer decision.
It is better to win 3 deal of 10 K€ instead trying to win 1 deal of 30 K€...So Short cycles, and disqualifying the lead as soon as you are sure that you won't be paid in the quarter or in the next 6 month
Take care about specific period (Long WE, Summer and Winter Holidays, ...And drive your forecast Day by Day
Stay enthusiast and dynamic :-)