How to Start a Law Firm: A Step by Step Guide


There are over 1.3 million lawyers practicing in the US, but only about 443,000 law firms. This means there’s plenty of opportunities for lawyers to strike out and establish their own law firm business.

What about you? After becoming a lawyer and gaining experience, have you been thinking about starting a law firm of your own?

Keep reading to learn how to start a law firm in your locale.

Make Your Business Plan

Starting a law firm is a terrific goal, but you’ll need a detailed plan to make it happen. This needs to include items like:

  • Your mission statement
  • Your area of focus or expertise
  • Your financial situation (how you’ll pay for the business)
  • Finding and furnishing an office location
  • Developing a marketing strategy

Seek advice from an accountant, a banker, or even a fellow lawyer about the steps you need to take to create your business plan.

Choose Your Niche

What competitive advantage do you have over other lawyers in your area? Did you study a niche field like maritime law, libel, or immigration? If so, it might be easier to market your new firm.

Otherwise, if you’re planning to open a family law or criminal law practice, think about a sub-specialty to focus on. For example, could you carve out a niche in adoption, civil rights, or environmental law?

Establish Your Name & Entity

You can choose to name your law firm after yourself and include “Associates” or “Group,” if you’ll work with other lawyers. Your other option is to name your firm after your locale (“San Diego Family Lawyers”) or a word that encompasses your mission (“Liberty Law Group”).

Check to make sure your chosen name is available, then register as a sole practitioner, professional corporation, or LLC.

Consider Your Finances

You’ll need to open a dedicated bank account for your business, as well as a trust account or IOLTA account to accept payments from clients. Research tax requirements and liabilities in your state and ensure you have enough set aside.

If you don’t already have it, you’ll need to get liability insurance, worker’s comp coverage, and other insurance mandated in your area. You also need to determine how you’re going to bill clients and how much you’ll pay your employees.

Network & Advertise

Your final step is to get the word out about your brand new law firm. Join local lawyer associations and focus on growing your network through personal and professional referrals.

You’ll also need to build a website, claim your Google My Business account, and grow your following on social media. If marketing your website and building your online presence isn’t your strong suit, that’s okay. An SEO company like The Hoth can help you out with more info.

How to Start a Law Firm & Grow Your Practice

Starting a law firm of your own is an exciting endeavor, but it takes a lot of preparation and planning. Follow the steps listed above and you’ll soon be on your way to establishing and growing a law firm.

Now that you know how to start a law firm, what comes next? Keep browsing our site for other articles related to business, law, finance, and much more!


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