Starting a law firm can be one of the best decisions to make because the legal industry has undergone significant systemic changes. In 2005, Roberthalf.com conducted research and found that 5% of lawyers were likely to open their offices. In 2016, however, the study revealed that the number of lawyers who wanted to open a law firm had risen to 23%.
Building a boutique firm may be an attractive alternative for you if you’re starting solo though it has its shares of challenges. You may find it a bit difficult to find a good criminal defence lawyer to concentrate on specialties. Click here to find more information about it. So, if you want to be successful in your start-up, here’s a process you can follow.
1. Have the right mindset
Your attitude is what will lead you to success or failure. When starting your boutique firm, some people may not support your idea. Others may tell you that you don’t have enough skills to run a law firm. Use your knowledge, enthusiasm, and energy to achieve your goal. You also want to research the skills that you need to have to run the firm successfully. Remember, a firm is a business, and the skills used to run a business aren’t the same as those used in practicing law.
Also, it would help if you were ready to tackle the challenges that may arise after you’ve started the firm. They may be financial or difficulty in finding the right lawyers to work for your firm, among others. If your attitude is right, those setbacks will help you to evaluate and find ways of making your firm better.
2. Choose your practice area
Clients prefer attorneys who focus their practice on one or more related areas. By including several specialties within your firm, you’ll develop camaraderie with many clients and profit your firm.
However, to build the reputation of your firm, you could also opt to specialize in a specific area and look for talented lawyers in that area. While looking for the lawyers, identify the skills and expertise that doesn’t exist in the firm. It would also be best if you had lawyers who are leaders in the boutique practice area. They should be successful and have their business books.
3. Select a distinctive law firm name
Your firm’s name is the first thing you will use to attract potential clients. It will also be associated with your brand. You want to find a name that people will identify with and pronounce easily. Most lawyers love to name their firms after the founders though you could use a name related to your practice area. A title that’s based on your location could also be beneficial.
4. Have Goals and Strategies
According to Clio’s Legal Trends Report, 94% of law firms don’t have an idea of how much it costs them to acquire a new client. That shows that if you intend to build a law firm, you need to put much thought into what you are creating and why you are building it. You, therefore, need to have strategies on how to fulfill your personal goals, provide exceptional client services, and make your firm a fantastic place to work. But that means you have to be intentional with your business by deciding on the end you want to create.
Here’s how you can strategize:
- Have personals goals
Your business should enable you to fulfill your career goals and visions. You need to establish a boutique firm that will thrive even if you’ve traveled. To do this, you need to have a support staff and clear systems that your team can follow in your absence.
In the world of law, the mantra may seem to be to focus on work till you die. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. When starting out, ensure you have enough lawyers to enable you to pay attention to your personal life.
- Have a business vision
You want to have a clear and measurable vision for your firm to be successful. To create this vision, you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- Are my values and missions documented?
- Do I have a documented business model that’s built around solving client problems according to their expectations?
- Do I understand the trends that affect firms and clients?
- Have I set out key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor my firm’s health and help me predict the future of my success?
- How often should I conduct a competitive analysis to help me adjust my strategy of winning the market?
- Have I surrounded myself with an expert coach and a supportive peer community?
Figuring this out may not happen in one sitting. You’ll need to take your time and let your vision evolve over days, weeks, and months.
5. Design Marketing and Client-Centered Services
Once you have a goal for your firm, you want to start putting things in place. You can decide on how best you’ll serve your clients. To do this, you need a solid strategy, systems, and procedures, and the right technology to constantly deliver a superior client experience.
As a boutique defense law firm, you need to reframe your company from your client’s perspective. Besides that, you need to show that you care about your clients and understand their needs. That will make them know you are the right person to take care of them. To build a firm focused on your clients, you need to:
- Design prices, fees, and rates according to the goals and expectations of your clients.
- Have systems in place that address your client’s diversity, access, and inclusion.
- Have communication methods that your clients prefer while also following your data security needs.
- Draft your client’s legal documents in a reader-centric way emphasizing the use of plain language and readability.
- Have a structure of capturing your client’s feedback and understanding their level of satisfaction to help you in actively improving your work.
Establishing a defense boutique criminal law firm may be quite challenging. That is because you need to research extensively, have expert lawyers, and offer exceptional client services. However, if you have excellent strategies in place, the process may be easy and exciting.