Over the span of your law school education the big decision was already part of the process: Would you join a firm or start your own? Options for new lawyers, at one time, were much more narrow due to financial concerns. Most law graduates would take junior positions with a firm or clerk for a judge. Now, the option of taking your future firmly in your own hands by opening a solo law practice is more viable than ever.
Economics plays a major factor in the course your career takes; however, those same economics have added options that may not have been previously under consideration. The expansion of web-based office space and co-working solutions may bring that independent practice closer to your reach than you originally thought.
Saving on overhead
Some of the financial issues you face in starting your own practice include:
- Office space
- Furniture and equipment
If you can bundle much of the top of the list and share the cost with other like-minded attorneys, then the bottom line is reduced. There is space for you to work when you need to be in an office, conference space for meeting with clients, equipment for printing presentations and storing private files, and someone to answer the phone or pick up a fax during business hours. Most importantly, your fledgling practice is not carrying the whole weight of these overhead costs.
In addition, a co-working space helps you develop a built-in network of other lawyers who can impact your bottom line with new business referrals.
Funding your new practice
In addition to considering overhead costs, lawyers starting a new practice should plan ahead in terms of funding the business. The best scenario for starting a new practice is to have approximately six months to a year of funding at hand to cover office rental costs, association fees, business license, etc. Depending on your situation, you might also need to cover your living expenses.
Some firms may qualify for SBA guaranteed loans, but be prepared to prove that your business has a solid plan as well as income. Check with your town or county for incubator or small business resource information. You might also choose to use personal loans from family and friends.
The American Bar Association has a reference article that can help you develop your financial plan for your new law practice.
Owning your own law practice gives you the opportunity to make your mark, and options like co-working spaces can make that dream a reality sooner than later. A solid business and financial plan will help you start on the right foot.
Bring your knowledge and your drive. The LawBank community offers suite, office and co-working space for Denver lawyers. Contact us today to learn more about our affordable and flexible options.