Lee NorcrossBefore a solo attorney starts to practice law in his or her new law firm, the attorney needs to address the business of a law firm.  Attorneys need to realize that a law firm is a small business.  And as with any small business it needs to have a written business plan.  Why put the plan in writing.  Generally people that put plans in writing tend to follow the plans more closely and are more successful.  The plan should not be a static document; it needs to be reviewed, preferably monthly, against what actually is happening.  Adjustments can then be made to the plan to keep you on track.  So what should a business plan contain?

1.       An executive summary of your new law practice and what it is

2.       What legal structure are you going to use and what will you call the firm?

3.       How are you planning on obtaining clients?

4.       How do you plan on marketing and selling your services?

5.       Are you planning on teaming up with other lawyers or law firms for certain work?

6.       What areas of law and types of clients do you want to accept?

7.       Where will your office be located?

8.       What insurance will you need, ie Business Owners Coverage, Attorney Malpractice Insurance, Workers Compensation

9.       A list of goals that you that you need to reach periodically.  These should be measureable

10.   A fix asset budget for the equipment and supplies you will need

11.   A Staffing budget

12.   An annual budget that estimates revenue and expenses

13.   A decision as to how you will finance your cash flow, ie personal funds or a loan, until the revenue starts to flow

14.   How will you pay yourself?

15.   If you need funding, the above steps should help you determine how much you will need when you go to borrow funds

Once you have answered the above questions, and put the plan in writing, it is now time to execute your plan and practice law.  The more you plan your work and work you plan, the more likely you are to succeed in the practice of law.

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