The Statista Research Department recently presented their estimates for the total number of attorneys registered in the United States between 2007 and 2020. Today, there are over 1.3 million legal experts nationwide.
Foremost among Statista’s findings is the oversupply of lawyers, which was attributed to an overproduction of graduates. Another major contributor to the job shortage is automation.
In the last two years, more than half of law firms admitted to replacing employees with technological resources.
According to IBISWorld, the criminal defense sector is currently home to 20,933 businesses. Despite coronavirus challenges, the industry is expected to continue growing thanks to several factors, including the expansion of urban areas where crime rates are higher.
Given these facts, it stands to reason that now is an ideal time to step out and establish your own criminal defense firm. Here’s what you need to know.
Before You Begin
Starting and maintaining any kind of legal practice requires more than just determination.
You must also possess the necessary knowledge and skills for running a business, many of which are acquired through experience. That’s why it’s wise to find mentors who have traveled a similar path and learned from the mistakes that you can avoid.
Following are some additional tasks to consider before venturing further:
- Pay attention to the practices and procedures followed in your current firm
- Join local and state legal organizations related to criminal defense
- Identify the requirements to become board-certified in your area
- Attend CLE (continuing legal education) seminars to learn and network
Both in the early stages and moving forward, you should dedicate time to creating and updating your business plan. This will serve as your map as you lay the foundation for your firm. Remember to draw up a budget that covers as many expenses as you can forecast.
The Name Game
According to criminal lawyer Ambrosio Rodriguez, “What you decide to call your firm can affect its success in several ways. It’s how potential clients identify you and is crucial to marketing.”
An effective name incorporates your specialization. This helps to immediately communicate what you do. It’s also beneficial to your website’s ranking in search engine results pages.
On that note, your domain name should be given the same level of care. Aim to have both your business name and keywords that prospects may type into search.
Tools of The Trade
Let’s touch on one more thing that separates successful and struggling law firms. It’s law practice management software. Programs such as Clio, MyCase, Legal Files, and Zola Suite can vastly streamline and simplify daily operations in your firm.
Opening an Office
You may want to initially work from home to build funds. This obviously isn’t viable in the long run, so it’s best to find an ideal location as soon as possible.
Pick a space where you can stay and grow over time. Be sure to list your business on Google Maps to improve your online presence and credibility.
Of course, there’s more to running a criminal defense firm than having the right tools. But along with the strategies mentioned above, taking these steps will bring you much closer to realizing your dream.