Starting Your Own Law Firm Checklist

Ili J. Subhan, Esq.

Ili J. Subhan, Esq.

Recipient of the Best Immigration Lawyer Award 2018

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Starting Your Law Firm Checklist - What You'll Need

Today you are going to learn what you’ll need to start your law firm. The starting your law firm checklist includes: choosing a name for your law firm, choosing a corporate structure, deciding on office space, selecting CRM and practice management software, developing a marketing plan, designing your website, and launching your firm. Let’s get started.

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Choosing a Name for Your Law Firm

First, you’ll need to decide on a name for your law firm. 

Using your last name and then law office or law office of and then your last name is very common; however, firms are also now coming up with unique names like document preparation and alternative legal service companies such as Legalzoom, Axiom, and Avvo.

The American Bar Association Rules, which most states have similar rules, states that a law firm’s name can not be misleading. 

This means that if you use “offices” or “associates” in your name and your a solo and you do not have multiple offices or any associates, then you should definitely contact your state bar’s ethics counsel to make sure that your law firm name falls within the rules.

Your law firm name is an important impression management tool that can be used to convey trust, experience, and success. Spend time on thinking of a unique name that fits your ideal target market. 

Next, check with your state’s division of corporations or similar agency to make sure that the name is not already taken or that it is not similar to another name that may raise a trademark issue. 

Finally, now write down a list of names and ask family, friends, and others to provide you feedback. At the end of the day, go with your gut, because the firm name you pick will represent your values!

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Choosing Your Corporate Structure

Next, your going to want to choose your corporate structure. Law firms can generally be formed in three ways: C-corporations, S-corporations, and Limited Liability Companies or LLCs. Many states also offer specific professional corporation designations or processional LLCs. 

We recommend to form an LLC or a professional LLC when your starting out because of the flexibility and ease of use, avoids double taxation, and provides personal limited liability. An LLC can also be taxed like an S-corporation, which is an additional benefit.

The only state that does not allow for lawyers to form an LLC or professional LLC is California, so if you’re planning to go solo in California, you will need to form a professional corporation.

Speak with a business lawyer and a tax advisor to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of structure before making your decision.

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Decide on Office Space or Be a Virtual Attorney or a Hybrid

After going through the first two steps in the starting a law firm checklist, you should have choosing your name and your corporate structure. Now, you’ll need to decide on your office location. 

There are three main types of office locations that lawyers can use to provide legal services:

(1) the traditional office also known as brick and mortar office,

(2) the remote office, you just need you laptop and an internet connection, or

(3) the virtual office, which is a hybrid of the traditional and remote office. You have a physical address where you can meet clients on-demand but you mostly work remotely.

The type of office that you choose will depend on the types of clients you will serve. 

I use Regus to operate a virtual law office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Sarasota, Florida. Regus has over 3000 locations, in 900 cities,across 120 countries. They will have something that will suit your needs. 

If you decide to use Regus, contact Sales Manager, Jarrod Mikulecky, at jarrod.mikulecky@regus.com and he will help you no matter what State or country you need a location. Please do remember to mention that Ili Subhan referred you.

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Select CRM and Practice Management Software

Now it’s time to select your customer relationship management (“CRM”) and practice management software.

CRM software focuses on the onboarding process for acquiring the client, including: client intake, client acquisition, and relationship management.

Practice management software focuses on everything to do with the case or matter after you have acquired the client including: storing documents, calendaring, billing, etc. 

Some CRMs and practice management software programs integrate with each other, so when you input information into your CRM, it will seamlessly transfer that information to your practice management software helping you avoid multiple data entries, which improves your efficiency and overall productivity. 

I use Clio which offers an integrated CRM and practice management solution.

Signup for a 7 day free trial of Clio.

Developing Your Target, Niche, and Marketing Plan

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Now your ready to identify your target audience, niche, and develop your marketing plan.

Your target audience are your ideal clients.

Who do you want to help?

Once you answer that question, you will need write down your ideal clients key characteristics. For example, you’ll want know their demographics including: age, gender, familial status, financial status, education, location, their interests, likes and dislikes, social media platforms they use, and more. 

To create your ideal client, which is also known as a buyer persona, you can use a Free tool from a site like Xtensio.

Next, you want to narrow down and hone in on one practice area. 

“The riches are in the niches.”

So get clear on who you are helping and then develop a unique selling proposition that distinguishes your services from the competition.

For example, immigration law is a niche area within the law. However, immigration law deals with family immigration, business immigration, deportation defense, and asylum. As you can see, what appears as a niche area at first glance can be much more broad and should be narrowed down further.

I personally practice immigration law, but I focus on helping married couples who are in the U.S. apply for legal permanent residency. Do you see how I have narrowed down on a broader niche. This is exactly what you will want to do.

Getting clear on your niche, helps you create a stellar marketing message to attract your ideal clients. 

There is 3 parts to your marketing plan:

(1) identify your ideal clients,

(2) identify your niche, and 

(3) identify your competitive advantage.

Once you’ve done that, now your ready to advertise to your ideal clients. Your first advertisement is your website. So let’s take a look at how to design an awesome website that can be used as a lead generation machine.

Design Your Website or Hire a Designer

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Now you’re ready to design your website or hire a designer.

To get your website up and running, you’ll need to do the following:

(1) choose a web hosting service provider,

(2) choose a domain name,

(3) select a website theme or template,

(4) utilize search engine optimization (“SEO”) tools, and 

(5) design the website on your own or hire a designer. 

First, you’ll want to select your web hosting provider. 

I use Siteground to host my websites. They offer super fast upload times and a Free Secure Socket Layer certificate or SSL certificate. 

Google requires a SSL certificate or your website will be flagged as unsafe. Siteground includes these certificates for free. It’s a great service.

Check out Siteground’s webhosting plans. I recommend the Grow Big plan.

Okay. Now you need to pick your domain name. It should match or be similar to your law firm name. 

You can purchase your domain name through Siteground or another provider such as Godaddy or Namecheap.

Now you have selected your hosting provider and your domain name, it’s time to choose a website template to build your website.

There are three ways to build a website: (1) through custom coding, (2) through a website builder like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, or (2) through a content management system or CMS like WordPress.

I recommend that you use a CMS, specifically WordPress.

With WordPress, you can use a website template or theme that has already been designed and then you can customize to suit your preferences.

Once you have selected your WordPress theme or template, now it’s time to upload some SEO tools (i.e. plugins) to your site. 

Yoast is a must-have plugin for SEO. They offer a free and paid version. Start with the free version and then move to the paid version. 

Lastly, if you do not want to design your website on your own, you can hire a web designer from a company like Giraphic Creative, Codeable, Dribbble, Fiverr, or Upwork. 

Once you have completed the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to having your website be a lead generation machine. In the course, we show you how to use contact forms to drive leads and conversions. We also show you how to use forms to productize your legal services and make money while you sleep. No other course on the market teaches you this secret!

Ready. Set. Launch.🚀

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Okay. Now you have completed the starting a law firm checklist including: choosing your law firm name, choosing your corporate structure, decided on your location, selected your CRM and practice management software, developed your marketing plan, and designed your website, so your ready to launch your firm, right?

Well, it’s going to take you a lot of time and money to finish everything in the starting a law firm checklist and get it right from the beginning. It took me many years to do the above and create a roadmap for success, but the good thing is that what took me years, I can now show you in weeks.

Therefore, if you want to learn the step-by-step process of how to launch your law firm in 30 days or less, enroll in Subhan Law University’s course now!

In the course, you’ll be provided with a roadmap that will show you the step-by-step process of how to start your law firm with all the right tools, fast.

Do you want to be your own boss?

Do you want the freedom to set your own schedule?

Do you want to work with and help your ideal clients?

And, do you want to gain financial freedom?

If so, you need a mentor and a roadmap for success to get you there. 

Otherwise, there will be many, many pitfalls and struggles along the way. I want to help you avoid those pitfalls and launch your firm successfully from the start.

That’s why the on-demand course provides you the roadmap for success and includes:

(1) over 50 on-demand videos that you can watch at anytime, from anywhere, and on any device ($5000 value),

(2) an exclusive Facebook Group where every month I share tips and tricks and bring in guest speakers to help you build a successful law practice,

(3) learn how to productize your services in order to sell your services online. I’m going to reveal the secret to how you can make money while you sleep ($2500 value),

(4) you get a well-draft and comprehensive marketing plan template ($1500 Value),

(5) you get an LLC operating agreement template ($1500 value),

(6) you get workplace solution resources ($250 value),

(7) you get website design resources ($250 value), and 

(8) you get more bonus resources to help you succeed, and 

(9) the course is tax deductible. 

That’s over $11,000 in value, for ONLY $995.

Ready to check everything off the starting a law firm checklist and start your law firm in 30 days or less and get the roadmap to success? 

Enroll now.

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