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.
Create a Free website: weebly.com
Create youtube videos.
Get on elance and other similar sites
The web is the Key!!
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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 :-)
Dear Julien, in my opinion there are as few venues to increase the likelyhood for landing contracts:
(i) Go to conferences in your field and offer a pro-deo pitch - great networking
(ii) Write articles and start a blog to expose your field of specialty
(iii) Review David Maister: Trusted business Advisor
(iv) Create an association with co-starters in fields complementary to yours but still within the context of legal services
All the best
(ex BAIN, GE)
1. Join chambers of commerce in your area.
2. Join other networking groups in your area
3. Offer on-line advice
4. Create Linked-in and Face book profiles
6. Use fixed fee arrangements whenever possible
7. Join lawyer networking groups...or create your own.
Worked for me...hope it works for you.
Best of success.
Firstly you should stop looking at it an decide that you are (as of now) a start-up legal practice, put all you compliance and insurance aspects in order and then seek out your local BNI Chapter, see if there is a vacancy for a litigation lawyer.
It's my pleasure sending you this mail. Seek clients that need your service's and get better acquainted with them. For more tips, chat better on BBM 7F2972F3.
--Aladesuru Adewale Walter, Brand Development Entrepreneur and Global Citizen.
You are in a better position because you provide services. So you should operate a virtual office. Where you don't have to bare the cost of running a brick and mortal business. You should also state my providing advisory services for free. For example, giving legal advise on a platform like mosaicHUB can help boost your profile and can bring potential clients to you who will be willing to pay for your services.
While we normally comment on residential real estate enterprises and projects, we offer the following for your consideration.
Assuming your phrase of being "low on cash" means no cash on hand and no ability to borrow, with all other things being equal you seem to have few options. With typical paid advertising approaches not possible (especially since advertising effectiveness usually depends on a prolonged schedule of repeated ads), what remains appears to be a suggested "no" and "low" cost path to potential recognition of your new law firm.
You may want to consider starting with a small awareness campaign initially, then build from there. It should be expected to take time.
First: Consider joining and being active in an influential service club (Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions) in your area that is apt to have a membership that includes other local attorneys, business leaders and government officials. Participating in an active chamber of commerce also may be beneficial. Such groups could be a good way for potential clients to get to know you on a personal basis, learn about your practice and become more inclined to use your services. Although clearly less expensive than paid advertising, participation in these and similar organizations can be time consuming and reaches a limited audience. But it could provide a platform for recognition and referral generation.
Second: Check out the possible use of free websites and, where possible, internet social media sites to create on online presence and have your firm contact data appear when potential clients perform online searches for the type of assistance you provide.
Third: Create a well written one-page letter to be sent to prominent businesses in your area. Through this medium you can introduce yourself and your services. (Since we've heard that small law firms sometimes "farm out" their overload or research work to other attorneys, you may want to investigate whether including them in a letter campaign would be helpful.) To better increase effectiveness you may need to send follow-up letters to such firms. Additionally, if your resources allow, a letter of introduction also could be sent to business associations, various commercial enterprises and community service agencies or groups in your community that may have an interest in retaining your service.
Fourth: Using an attractive business card design, have business cards printed and distribute them freely. Ask your club members, friends and relatives to do the same. Business cards and "word of mouth" advertising often can be effective, especially when your firm pops up in an online search.
Once the practice starts getting some cash flow, you may want to think about paid advertising to a targeted or broader field of potential clients.
For my experience, for how do I start a law firm without cash is easy for developing country like Cambodia, The capital is my people for tourist attraction.
You may join an established Legal firm and try to explore their clientele .. There must be many clients they do not work for.. pick those clients.
You can create a network with Local association and small business groups in case if they need any legal support.
You can contact NGOs or Legal Officers.. if they have any need so, they can recommend you.
In a nutshell, you need to work towards scope of new avenues and vacuum. Networking / PR is important to get clientele and it does not cost much.
According to my experience,if you have a strong and genuine business plan so 90% probability of success,use proper marketing ,and use proper investment,...but all depends of your business plan,...e.g Sagheer Business Plan
(0) Market re-search………………………….why?
(1) Market re-search……………………………what?
(2) Market re-search…………………………..How?
(3) Title or name …with respect to name, with respect to business, with respect to location, with respect to era.
(4) Motto…with respect to business.
(7) Mission Statement.
(8) Vision Statement.
(9) Location……with respect to positive and negative aspects.
(11)Finance……..Fix and Running.
(12)Finance Management……with feasibility report in the form of chart.
(14)Business Flow…with the help of flow chart.
(15)Mathematical Model of Production…with cost estimation method.
(16)Promotion Strategy ……..with Probability or regression model.
(17)Risk factor…with your weak points (S (strengths) W (weaknesses) O (opportunities) T (threats) Analysis).
(18)Role of Technology.
Set up a virtual office. saves tonnes of money. go for free publicity by setting up a website. become a member of portals offering free and paid legal consultations. ones people get to know you work will pour in. your correspondence etc can be managed by the virtual office guys. have meetings if required in business centre of your choice, meeting paid for by the clients. eventually things will work out.