Perhaps you have been working under a personal injury law firm, and you feel it’s time to break free and start your own. Taking the path to career freedom is a significant milestone. If you are a personal accident attorney and have the experience and knowledge, then you are halfway there. Here are a couple of other things you need to know.
Crunch the Numbers
Numbers are not a cup of tea for many of the personal injury lawyers. However, you need to master the numbers because businesses are about expenses, profits, revenue, and losses. These parameters are what you will need to determine how your business is performing. When operating a law firm, there are certain non-negotiables that you must factor in. These costs can be summarized into advertising and operating costs. When it comes to advertising, analyze the conversion rate and cost per acquired case.
Have Sufficient Capital
Running a personal injury help firm is a game of volume and litigation. In the first year, high chances are that you will struggle financially. You may have to take on a few pro-bono cases to build your profile. It is recommended that you at least save up about one year’s worth of salary. If you have a team of assistants who will be working with you, ensure that you can comfortably pay them for a period of not less than one year. There is a good chance that you may start earning profits before the one-year lapses, but it is good to be prudent and assume the worst.
Write a Good Business Plan
If you have exhausted all your personal sources of income, you can consider approaching a bank or a lending institution. To do this, you need to have a detailed and comprehensive business plan. It is imperative that you get help from the personal injury lawyers who have set out to open their own personal injury law firms. Provide all the details in forms of numbers and projections for your firm in the business plan. This will ensure that you get sufficient funding to kick start your business and keep it afloat until you break even. When seeking funding, ensure that you negotiate for a grace period before you begin repaying your loan. This will give you ample time to recoup the money before you have to start making payments.
It is important to be ethical when getting clients, which means obeying your state’s attorney ethics rules and avoiding conflicts of interest. If you are subject to a non-compete agreement or a nondisclosure agreement, you need to be extra careful. Networking is a way to get clients. Talk with other lawyers and they can refer clients to you when they have bulk cases. You can also look for community projects that you can involve yourself in, and with time you will establish your own clientele as you also build your profile.
Rent an Inexpensive Space for Your Start-Up
Rent is one of the significant and consistent costs you will have. You need to keep this cost at a minimum. Try to find an inexpensive place where you can rent. While you are in the market for an affordable place, you need to consider the location. A law firm needs to be in a place that is easily accessible. You must, therefore, strike a balance between an inexpensive place and a good location. For a startup, you can consider sharing with space with other businesses provided you are not competing with each other. For instance, you can sublet an office with a lawyer who practices a different discipline of law, say a divorce lawyer. Your businesses complement each other, and there is no potential for conflict since you are serving different needs. You can also ride on the goodwill of that business and get referrals whenever people are seeking for personal injury services.
Acquire Case Management Software
Depositions and court appearances characterize personal injury cases. This means that you will be dealing with lots of paperwork. A case management software allows you to organize your cases and the materials you need for litigation. You will also avoid cases of overscheduling. This software also saves you on labor costs as you will not need to hire someone to deal with the volumes of documents.
The market is flooded with case management software providers. You need to get one that allows you to get more by paying less. It is wise to get software that can also help with your accounting needs. Case management software can be customized to include accounting features. Again, accounting software saves you time and bookkeeping costs. You will also analyze your expenses and keep track of your wasteful spending.
Have a Clear Organizational Structure
When starting out, you are looking to minimize costs and one way to do this is by ensuring that you have an efficient team. Draft a clear job description for every member of your team. Check that their roles are not overlapping. Duplicated work functions will cost you more, and you will retain people that you can do without. Labor will guzzle your funds very fast, and you must get ways to keep it a minimum. It is advisable to draw up an organizational structure before you begin your law firm.
Factor in Your Insurance Needs
Personal injury and litigation, in general, exposes you to financial risks. You need to assess your insurance needs and get sufficient coverage. To start a law firm you can consider renters insurance, business interruption insurance, and malpractice. You need to prioritize what you need because you may not be in a position to get all this coverage at once. If you are representing plaintiffs, then you must realize that they are notorious for suing their attorneys if they are unsatisfied. In this case, you need to prioritize malpractice insurance. Renters insurance protects you against fire, damage, and theft. If your office is located in a high crime area, then you can consider renters insurance. Business interruption can protect you from bankruptcy which is a high possibility for start-ups.
Have a Website
A website is one of the most effective marketing tools. You need to set aside funds to create an informative and interactive website. In the beginning, you can have a simple website that serves the basic purpose. Select a domain name that clients can easily remember. Clients will judge you based on the quality of the content you post on your website. Starting out, you may not have lots in information to post but ensure that the little you have is informative and provides personal injury help. At the very least have a landing page that represents your business in the best light.
Starting your own personal injury firm is not easy, but it’s very doable. It might be hard at the start, but if you stick it out and follow these guidelines, you will soon establish a successful personal injury help firm that you can be proud of.