How to Start Your Own Law Firm

Starting your own law firm can be a rewarding next step in your legal career. It might seem intimidating at first, but a little planning goes a long way. For any law firm just starting out, you'll want to know something about running a business, which goes beyond the skills necessary for being a good lawyer.

Once you've made the decision to start your own firm, or even if you're still just considering, the resources on this page will help you get started—with everything from developing a business plan and getting your finances in order to finding a steady client base and thinking about the future longevity of your legal practice.

First steps to starting your own law firm

The first steps to starting your own law firm are critical. A passion for practicing law is essential, but beyond that, you'll also need to know how to run the business side of your firm. The more thought you put into these first crucial steps, the better you'll set yourself up for success in the long run.

  • Graphic shows business plan graphic for starting a law firm


    How to Write a Law Firm Business Plan

    It's never too early (or too late) to write your law firm business plan. Set your targets and build your roadmap to starting your own law firm.

  • Lawyer discussing his new law firm


    How to Choose Your Legal Niche

    Distinguishing yourself from the competition is essential when starting your own law firm. Define your motivations and align them with the legal services in high demand.

  • Calculator shows lawyer calculating billable hours


    How to Calculate Your Hourly Rate

    How much you charge will determine the profitability of your new legal practice. Get access to industry benchmarks and learn when it's time to raise rates.

  • Lawyers discussing how to start a law firm


    How to Start Your Own Law Firm

    Get a detailed guide on everything you need to know about starting your own law firm, including buying insurance, finding clients, and managing your day-to-day work.

    Read guide 17 min
  • Graphic shows money saved when starting a new law firm


    How to Start a Law Firm With No Money

    Learn how to start a law firm with all the rewards—and none of the costs. Discover the secrets to keeping expenses down and making sure you have a plan.

  • Lawyer discussing what he's learned since starting a law firm


    7 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting a Law Firm

    Learn important lessons about starting your own law firm from a lawyer who's found his own terrifying, exciting, and most of all, rewarding, success.

  • Graphic outlining communications with web designer


    11 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Law Firm Web Designer

    Your firm's website is the cornerstone to online communication. Learn what questions to ask a developer, so you can get it right early, and save later on.

Getting your first legal clients

When you’re first starting a law firm, acquiring your first clients is a critical factor to achieving profitability. Putting together a strong marketing plan will help ensure you find enough clients to generate revenues. To do so, you’ll need to be up to speed on the resources and strategies available.

  • Graphic showing new law firm getting its first client


    How Do Clients Find Their Lawyers?

    When starting a law firm, knowing how to find clients depends heavily on knowing how they want to find you. Learn how to get found and get hired.

  • Lawyer reviewing advertisements for her new law firm


    10 Ways Lawyers Can Advertise Online For Free

    Money can be tight when first starting a law practice. Minimize what you spend when finding new clients by making your firm more visible—for free.

  • Graphic showing client intake form


    10 Ways to Improve Client Intake at Your Law Firm

    Beyond finding potential clients, you need to have a plan for keeping track of them while ensuring they decide to actually hire your law firm.

  • Lawyers discussing business development before opening their law firm


    Business Development Strategies for Law Firms

    Once you've opened a law firm, how will you develop a consistent client pipeline to ensure steady work? Learn to overcome one of the greatest challenges lawyers face.

  • Lawyers engage on social media to promot opening their own law firm


    The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media For Lawyers

    Social media can be a powerful tool for finding new clients, especially for new law firms—if used correctly. Learn what lawyers need to know before diving in.

  • Graphic showing search intent for local law firms


    The Quick Guide to Law Firm SEO

    If clients can’t find you, they can’t hire you. Getting SEO right for your law firm, right from the start, can save a lot of investment later on.

    Read article 10 min
  • Lawyer figures out her marketing before opening her law firm


    The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing Your Firm Online

    Marketing your firm online offers an affordable, scalable option for finding new clients. Learn SEO, reputation management, and more from the legal industry's best.

    Read guide 19 min

Managing your law firm finances

The financial status of your legal practice is a reflection of the overall health of your business. When first starting your law firm, it's best to get your books in order early. With the right systems in place, you'll be able to get the information you need to achieve your firm's goals.

  • Graphic showing sample finances for starting a law firm


    The Complete Guide to Year-End Law Firm Accounting

    Even if you're just starting your law firm, the best time to think about your end-of-year fiscal accounting is now.

  • Graphic showing lawyers managing bookkeeping with an accountant


    Better Bookkeeping for Law Firms

    Bookkeeping for any legal practice should be about providing clarity and peace of mind. Get a handle on the numbers even if you're just striking out.

    Read guide 11 min
  • Graphic shows sample of law firm accounting


    5 Ways To Be Your Accountant’s Favorite Lawyer

    An accountant can be a huge help to new law firms. Learn how to work more efficiently with your accountant by following these important pieces of advice.

  • Lawyer prepares electronic invoices for clients


    Better Billing for Lawyers Revisited

    Learn to set up an efficient system for invoicing and collecting payment at your law firm based on best practices and what your clients want.

  • Attorney makes a record of deductions for her tax filings


    6 Top Lawyer Tax Deductions

    Be sure to keep track of all your expenses when opening a new law firm. This list will help determine how to claim them come tax time.

  • Graphic tracks hourly rates since opening a law firm


    6 Reasons You Should Increase Your Hourly Rate

    Once you've opened your legal practice, you'll eventually want to think about raising your rates. Here are six reasons to justify an increase in price.

  • Lawyer managing paperwork for her client trust accounts


    How to Manage Your Trust Accounting With Clio

    When starting a law firm, managing client funds can be tedious and cumbersome. Learn how technology can help you keep meticulous trust ledgers that comply with professional rules.

    Read guide 7 min

Leveraging technology for lawyers

Technology is revolutionizing the way we do business, and the legal profession is no exception. Starting your firm in the digital world means working more efficiently with better, more secure access to all the information at your firm. Learn more about the tools available, and how to apply them to your new legal practice.

  • Graphic shows an hourglass measuring lawyer's time


    5 Time Management Tips for Lawyers

    For any law firm, new or old, nothing is more important to a lawyer than his or her time. Get some quick advice on essential time management.

  • Lawyer managing his practice using cloud-based legal software


    Why Law Firms Are Moving to the Cloud

    Software is shifting to internet-based services. For law firms just starting out, the benefits of practicing in the cloud can give you a competitive advantage.

    Read guide 15 min
  • Graphic shows technology artifact being uncovered for a new law firm


    What Technology Does Your Law Firm Actually Need?

    Technology offers many advantages to legal practices new and old, but too much of it can become a hindrance. Be sure to use only what you need.

  • Lawyer uses legal practice management software to manage his case workflows


    Meet Clio: The Easiest Way to Manage Your Firm

    Learn how practice management software can help you manage your law firm. Find new efficiencies and securely manage all of your firm information from anywhere.

  • New lawyer uses mobile firm to manage casework


    The Mobile Revolution: What Law Firms Need to Know

    Mobile technology has shifted how we manage information. Learn how handheld technologies should change the way you think about starting your own law firm.

    Read article 12 min
  • Graphic shows mindfulness apps for lawyers


    Apps for Preventing Lawyer Burnout

    There's no question that starting your own law firm requires a lot of hard work. Learn how technology can help keep you at your best.

  • Graphic shows legal apps for lawyers


    23 Best Apps for Lawyers

    We've curated the best 23 apps for lawyers just starting their law firms. Improve your legal practice and your productivity by browsing this list.

Planning the future for your law firm

Starting a law firm is only the first step. Maintaining a profitable business is a task that will be ongoing. As you grow your client base, your revenue, and maybe your team, improving efficiency and keeping track of all your firm information will become even more important.

  • Chris Trebatoski and his wife demonstrate the sucess of their law firm


    How I Doubled My Law Firm’s Revenue (and Where We’re Headed Next)

    Chris Trebatoski has seen incredible success, more than doubling revenues year over year without hiring additional staff. Read more to learn how he's done it.

  • Graphic shows an example of data to be tracked when starting a law firm


    12 Data-Driven Ways to Improve Your Legal Practice

    Data metrics can offer powerful firm insights. But which data is most important? Learn what information to pay attention to if you're just starting your law firm.

  • Solo lawyer manages payments at her law firm


    Solo Practice vs. Building a Team—What’s Right For You?

    When starting a law firm, you might want to think about whether you'll bring on more staff in the future. Learn how to weigh your options.

  • Solo lawyer calculates new revenue from law firm improvements


    15 Ways to Level up Your Solo Practice This Year

    Once you've started a law firm, it won't be long before you ask yourself, "What's next?" Here's a list to get you thinking about how to improve.

  • Graphic shows the results of a legal malpractice claim


    What to Do in the Event of a Malpractice Claim

    It can be a worst-case scenario for any law firm, unless you're prepared. Learn how to best manage outcomes in the event of a claim.

  • Lawyer improving her solo practice with smarter workflows


    Work Smarter, Not Harder

    While there's no doubt that hard work pays off, working smarter can offer even greater dividends. Learn how intelligent workflows can earn more while working less.

  • Vacation checklist for new law firms


    6 Things Lawyers Must Do Before Going On Vacation

    When you're just starting a legal practice, vacation might be the last thing on your mind. But when it comes time, don't forget these essential steps.

Starting your law firm is only the beginning

When you make the decision to start your own law firm, know that you don't always need to get everything right the first time. Every decision (and every mistake) is part of the journey to finding and sustaining your success. The trick is to know where you want to take your firm, and identifying the key milestones that will get you there. This is where a little planning can go a long way.

Part of any legal start-up plan should take into consideration how you’ll manage the administrative side of your law firm. Storing case and contact information, setting up billing workflows, keeping track of your calendars and communications are all integral to running a legal practice. The better prepared you are to manage these functions, the more time you'll have to work with clients.

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