Where do you start?
So as a practicing legal veteran you have decided to break away from the "Mothership", or perhaps you are fresh out of Law School and decided to start a law firm with some graduate class mates? Either way you have a lot of planning and hard work to make it all happen and invariably time is not going to be on your side. Every day not actually practicing law is a day with no income coming in and pushing you into the red, so where do you start and what expertise are you going to need to make it all happen in an expeditious manner?
Besides the obvious need to decide on the business name, establish the appropriate business entity and file the necessary paperwork with the state, there are two immediate priority items that need to be immediately handled in order to facilitate a speedy opening of your new doors of business. Unless these priority items are immediately addressed then the rest of your activities and your business opening will be delayed.
Two Immediate Priority Items
Office Space - Engage a tenant representative broker to help you find the most appropriate office space and negotiate the best terms for your office lease, with generous allowances for the build-out. After employee salaries and benefits, your office space is going to be your number one expense item, so don't underestimate the value of working with a professional here as it will pay you back in spades. Also be aware there is no cost for working with a broker as the broker is paid directly by whichever building you choose to move into.
Phone & Internet Services - Every law firm requires reliable and competitively priced phone and internet services these days (as most client interactions are over the phone or online) so immediately engage a telecom broker. Even before you finalize your new business address, a good telecom broker will be willing to confirm which of the shortlist of buildings you are looking at have the most favorable connectivity options, and the difference in service availability and pricing can be really significant (even between two adjacent buildings). Unlike regular consumer services (which might take 3 – 5 days to get installed), most business class phone and internet services (depending on the type of services) take 30 to 90 days to get installed, hence the sooner your broker can help you get your services ordered the sooner you will be able to open for business. Equally the sooner you will have confirmed phone numbers the sooner you will be able to order your office supplies and finalize your marketing collateral (business cards, website etc).
Office Design – Clients are going to get an immediate impression the moment they walk into your office so you want that to be a good one, and one that embraces your brand. By working with a quality interior design professional you can ensure you get the most out of your build out allowance, as negotiated with your lease, while at the same time guarantee your clients' first impression is a positive one. They will also see that your office layout and furnishings allow a productive, accessible, comfortable and appealing working environment for your employees.
Brand, Website and Marketing/Business Development Plan – No business can overlook the value of developing their brand and understanding how they are going to market their brand to their client prospects and actually pursue new business. Equally no business can survive without a professionally built and easily maintained website which can be easily found by their client prospects.
IT Infrastructure and Support – No matter the size of your firm and what type of law you are practicing, much of the effectiveness of your employees is going to be dependent on providing them reliable and secure access to your core underlying systems such as Case Management, Document Management, Time Reporting, Email etc. Employing the necessary staff to plan, implement and then provide ongoing support for this infrastructure is likely going to be cost prohibitive except for the very largest law firms, and so most law firms outsource this function.
HR and Administrative Support – Similar to the IT function, we are seeing more and more law firms outsource their HR and Administrative functions to experts in these fields. By outsourcing these functions you immediately benefit from a team support staff trained in the latest best practices, technology and processes.
Banking and Insurance – Naturally every law firm needs a stable, reliable and responsive banking relationship to manage their cash and credit needs. Equally every law firm needs to manage their liabilities and needs to ensure they have the appropriate insurance coverage and we recommend they work with a well respected insurance broker to see they accurately assess those needs and their different insurance provider options.
How do you identify the right external experts to be working with to handle each of these items?
The Law Firm Consultants Network has within its' ranks a broad range of proven and carefully selected industry experts that can help you handle each of the above items, as well as numerous other items as your firm gets started.
Contact The Law Firm Consultants Network Today
Please call us at 312-380-9725 today to discuss your plans, so we can make the necessary introductions to help you swiftly get your firm off the ground and on a solid footing.
One quick call to explain your specific concerns and we will see you immediately get connected with the appropriate experts to get them addressed.