Starting up a new law firm - a new guide from Law Firm Ambition


This Article first appeared in the Winter 2021/22 edition of The Law.

The Law winter edition

Law Firm Ambition is a website that “makes it easier to grow your law firm”. It is a collaboration between seven leading suppliers to the legal services sector. Together, we are providing a library of constantly updated tips and advice, including FAQs, checklists, and articles. We also collaborate on podcasts and webinars.

We know how busy law firms are. We can see that solicitors are drowning in ‘information’, most of which has precious little value. So our aim is to produce content that is 100% practical and action-orientated, written with only the most respected legal sector experts.

We have recently launched a new section on starting a new law firm. It contains a handy series of practical steps to follow in order to maximise your chances of success. Each of the guides are summarised below, and the headings contain links to the detail.

Starting up – introduction

Working in a law firm can feel like a treadmill. Many lawyers think about starting up their own legal practice, so they choose their own strategy, colleagues, billing targets and worklife balance.
In this section of Law Firm Ambition, we have put together a set of essential reading to make starting up faster, easier and less risky. Throughout, you will notice a strong emphasis on keeping costs down until your steady monthly cashflow covers your monthly costs. When you start a new firm, spending money is the easy part. Getting a sufficient number of clients - and sufficient cashflow coming in each month - often takes much longer than people expect.

Starting up a law firm – first steps

If you’re thinking of starting your own law firm, deciding to go your own way is only a first step. You need to make important decisions on what sort of firm you want to create, the team you will build, how to fund yourself and how to get off the ground. The choices you make can have a lasting impact on how well the new firm will perform, and ultimately how satisfying and successful your new life will be.

Start-up business planning

The more you can plan ahead before starting up, the more likely it is that your new firm will be a success. Your plan should set out what the firm offers, how it will operate and what the financial implications are.

Start-up compliance

Compliance is a priority for any law firm and demonstrating your new firm’s ability to meet compliance requirements is a key element of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) authorisation process. At its heart, you need up to date systems and processes that help the firm act properly and manage risk.

Start-up operations and systems

If you’re currently working in a larger firm, you probably take much of what goes on behind the scenes for granted. Starting your own firm means taking responsibility for all this as well – from deciding on whether to take premises to making sure you have the IT you need.

Start-up finance and insurance

Starting a new firm inevitably demands investment – not just in premises, systems and other costs, but to ensure you can cover your own personal financial needs until fees start rolling in. You need to be clear on how much you need, and happy with the level of risk you are taking on. You also need to put in place financial management systems that meet compliance requirements and help you stay in control of the firm’s finances.

Start-up sales and marketing

Sales and marketing activity is essential if your new firm is going to attract clients. If you are used to relying on your existing firm’s reputation, connections and marketing team, you may need to develop new skills and a new approach to how you promote yourself.

Are you thinking of starting a new firm?

If you would like any support with starting a new firm, then please do contact us. We can point you in the right direction to make sure you don’t get off to a bumpy start. We advise on the SRA recognition process, forecasting, systems and we also introduce you to others that you will need assistance from in areas such as PII, IT, banking, compliance etc.

New Law Firm Ambition webinar series

LFA is hosting a series of live interactive events covering the key factors that law firms will need to get right in order to continue to remain competitive, all on the theme of The Law Firm of Tomorrow. All of the events will be interactive, not slide-based, allowing attendees to dictate what is covered and obtain greater value from the time invested. The next webinar will be How to build the perfect legal business of the future with speaker Simon McCrum on Thursday 10 February. To secure your free place, please click here – Register Now

If you are thinking of starting a law firm and like to discuss any of the above, please speak to one of our Legal Sector experts on 0808 144 5575

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