Many lawyers dream of opening their law firm. Hanging up a shingle can be a refreshing change after spending years working at someone else’s law firm. It’s an exciting adventure if you’ve just passed the New York bar exam and are new to the practice of personal injury law.
However, if you’re planning on setting up a personal injury law firm in New York, there are a few things you’ll need. Take the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney and make sure you are prepared before starting. That’s the best way to set your new firm up for success.
A Business Plan
A business plan is a document that explains how your law firm will operate. Think of it like a roadmap of sorts. Your business plan may include information like:
- The scope of your services
- A budget
- Fee structure
- Your ideal client and the number of cases
- Strategy for growing your client base
- Short-term and long-term goals
You can use a business plan to approach potential lenders or banks. You can also use your business plan as an internal resource to revisit in the months and years to come. It can help you reexamine your goals and see if you are meeting projections. While it is important to have a clear and thoughtful business plan at the start, you can always revise it as you grow your firm and achieve your goals.
Lawyers who open a law firm without a business plan are at risk of running a disorganized business. It can be the difference between a successful law practice and one that struggles to pay its bills. In the beginning, you will probably be overwhelmed. A business plan can help keep you focused and on track.
If you’ve already practiced personal injury law, you know that money comes and goes. Personal injury cases can take years to resolve, especially those that bring in the most revenue. Plus, most personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. You don’t get paid until the end of the case, and only if you obtain compensation for the client.
When you first open your law firm, you probably won’t be signing many high-value cases. Perhaps you’ll start with taking cases pro-bono to establish your name, or maybe you handle routine car accident cases. If you need to pay employees, rent, loans, and other costs, this may not be enough.
You should make sure that you have start-up capital sufficient to cover costs for at least a year, if not more. This will give you the security you need to begin to generate cases and income. Ideally, you already have this capital saved. However, that’s not possible for most lawyers, especially new ones.
In that case, you can approach banks, lenders, and other potential investors and request a loan. Your business plan will come in handy during this process.
A law firm is nothing without clients. Clients, quite literally, generate revenue. If you aren’t representing clients, you can’t make money.
If you’ve already practiced law before opening your firm, you may have a client base to draw from. Perhaps you have an excellent reputation in court or have received press for past cases. Ideally, when you open your law firm, you will have a few anchor clients. However, that’s not always the case, especially for newer lawyers.
You’ll want to have a strategy to start generating clients immediately upon opening your doors. This usually comes in the form of a marketing plan. A marketing plan for personal injury law firms may include strategies for online marketing, social media marketing, or other types of advertising.
With These Tips in Mind, You’ll Be Well on Your Way To Setting Up a Successful New York Personal Injury Law Firm
Opening up a personal injury law firm in New York may seem daunting at first. But if you have a passion for helping accident victims in their time of need, the effort will be more than worth it.
If you can organize an effective business plan, ensure you have sufficient startup capital, and have a plan of action regarding how to grow your firm and attract clients, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the long term.