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How To Transition Seamlessly From In-House Counsel To Starting Your Own Law Firm

5 min read

In-house lawyers are primarily hired by a corporation’s law department to manage various legal issues affecting the company.

Some of these areas are tax and regulatory matters, employment, and policy-related matters.

Although a lucrative job with an opportunity to work with several good profiles such as a corporate compliance officer, the role of an in-house counsel has many downsides:

  • Multiple things outside of an in-house counsel’s control can put their jobs at risk. For example, in the case of mergers, acquisitions, and downturns, even the best attorneys are left without a next step.
  • In-house attorneys are generally overworked than firm attorneys and are often required to report to multiple departments.
  • Showing your value as an in-house counsel can be difficult as the expectations and value in this role may not be as clearly determined.

These are some of the major reasons because of which a lot of in-house lawyers think of starting their own law firm.

How To Transition Seamlessly From In-House Counsel To Starting Your Own Law Firm

The decision to transition from an in-house counsel to starting your law firm can be quite overwhelming because of several uncertainties surrounding the move.

So how can you go about the process and open a law firm most efficiently? Here are some of the tips to guide you-

1. Plan Well In Advance

Once you have decided to transition from the role of an in-house counsel to starting your own law firm, you should be well prepared to work really hard.

What this translates to is chalking out a detailed business and marketing plan in advance.

As an attorney who’s just starting out with your own law firm, you should know your firm’s various competitive advantages, your vision and mission statements, detailed market analysis, and financials.

Another important thing you ought to take care of is the earnings required from the business to break even.

2. Build A Website

One of the other key essentials for building a successful law firm is a well-designed website. This aids in spreading the word about your services to new clients as well as former ones.

Many of them will try to gather information, read reviews, and decide on your services online. And a professional website with all the information about your law firm can be very handy in expanding your reach.

Pay attention to aspects like a user-friendly website design, professional images, a well-chosen color scheme, and other such elements that will let your law business and profession speak for itself.

Apart from this, do not forget to optimize the website for better search results online so that your clients can easily find out your services quickly on top search engines.

3. Make Sure To Focus On Your Expertise

When starting on your own, do not make the huge mistake of taking up whatever comes your way.

A much smarter and better strategy in such a situation is to settle for a niche or the area you’re passionate about and have the required expertise in.

Working on your chosen niche area allows you to systematically avoid being competitors to everyone in the field. This also helps you to both build a referral network easily and fund success early on.

Also, make sure that your website and other marketing channels should clearly highlight your niche or expertise to prospective clients.

In addition to this, they should also mention important details like what experience, training, or education you have that differentiates you from others in your niche.

4. Focus On Client-Centered Services

Most lawyers can vouch that successful law firms are built with an undivided focus on client-centered services. And building a law firm that focuses on client-centered services means-

  • Putting various systems in place to ensure that client diversity, inclusion, and access are well taken care of.
  • Designing your rates and fees based on the specific goals and needs of your clients.
  • Drafting all your client communications and other legal documents in a very reader-friendly way.
  • Communicating with clients using their preferred methods while following your own data security needs at the same time.
  • Building a robust process for capturing client feedback and improving your services accordingly.

5. Build A Strong Network

Although a law firm typically specializes in providing legal services to clients, remember that it is similar to any other business where networking plays a huge role.

Building a strong network and thinking of unique ways to attract new clients is an important aspect of starting your own law firm.

To do this, you need to begin cultivating meaningful relationships with other lawyers in the area and actively look for opportunities for more referral work.

6. Leverage Social Media

Leveraging social media platforms is an excellent way to market your newly established law firm.

The huge popularity of these social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn gives you a massive opportunity to connect with your niche target market.

Some things to ensure while using social media here are as follows:

  • Make a separate account in your law firm’s name on each of these channels.
  • Include all the important information such as your firm’s name, address, contact details, email address, and web domain name.
  • Furnish all the information accurately and actively manage the accounts to get the maximum advantage of your social media presence.

7. Join Different Local Organizations

Joining a local lawyer association in your area is a great step towards building a robust network.

These associations have a huge customer base with an email list management software that has email addresses of the members and facilities, such as a compliance newsletter for regular updates.

This also allows you to meet and network with experienced attorneys who can either help you set up your business or mentor you in specific areas.

To Wrap It Up

Irrespective of how long you have been working as an in-house counsel, starting your own law firm is always an option to consider.

Although it is intimidating to consider the move at the beginning, if you follow the above guidelines, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot see success soon enough.

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