Practicing law is a way of living that offers stability, prestige, and a sense of achievement. One may decide to practice law because one wants to help people, but to move from practicing law to managing your own firm, you will need more than just altruistic motives. Consider leaving your current position as an associate or partner at a law firm and starting to build your firm from the ground. In that case, there are significant considerations you should know about before leaping.
Things You Must Know Before Moving from Practicing Law to Managing Your Law Firm
1: Your Law Firm is a Full-Time Job
To succeed in this business, you must be devoted to your practice. It means you will be working full-time even if your partners are not. You may believe this is the life you have always wanted, but it can be overwhelming and stressful. In addition, you will face challenges you may not have considered before, such as dealing with a client who does not pay their bills.
2: Your Law Firm is a Business
Different from a typical law firm, you do not have the luxury of being able to pick and choose the cases you want to handle. That will be up to your clients looking for the best legal advice possible. In addition, you will have to make sure your clients pay their bills, which means dealing with their delinquent accounts. You will also have to deal with their bank accounts, which means planning for the money you earn from the client’s business.
3: The Competition is Tougher
When it comes to competing in the legal market, it may be challenging to stay ahead of more established firms and offer more lucrative rates than they are. You will also have to compete against firms more eager to practice law than you, which are better equipped with the latest technologies (that you have to invest in) and who headhunt relentlessly for the best talent there is.
4: You Will Work With New People
You may be comfortable working with the same clients repeatedly, but this is only sometimes the case. Sometimes you will work with people for the first time and in unfamiliar situations. You might also meet new people at the company lunch or happy hour. It can make it hard to form relationships.
5: You Need New Skills
Since starting a business, you will need to learn how to balance cash flow, manage a budget and hire staff. You also need to know how to deal with clients who want something beyond your practice’s scope. It will be a learning curve, but the rewards are significant.
6: You Need to Have a Support Network
Starting your law firm differs from working in a big law firm. You are on your own, and you need to make sure that you have people who can help you, whether with advice or actual work. It includes finding someone with the technical skills, such as someone who knows how to use a computer to run your business.
7: You Will Face Challenges
To keep your practice going, you will have to overcome these challenges. Some of the most common challenges you are likely to face include dealing with clients who do not pay their bills, clients who have unrealistic expectations, and clients who are challenging to work with. Therefore, you must develop new skills and know how to approach these situations before taking on clients. The changes in the legal system are also stress-inducing for most small legal firms, so you need to keep learning, adapting, and working with the best professionals in their fields.
8: You Must Know All the Legal Requirements
There are specific requirements for starting your own business and turning them into the best practices in law firm management. For example, you must know how to set up the right corporation and handle tax issues to keep track of your earnings and spending. You will also have to file suitable types of reports, create a website, and ensure that you can keep your records safe.
Starting your practice can be an exciting endeavor. However, it does require a lot of work and will be challenging. So before you jump, be sure you are prepared for all the challenges and hurdles ahead. You can create one of the best law firm management practices if you know the proper steps.