Working for yourself can be at once one of the most challenging, time consuming, frustrating, and also rewarding decisions you ever make. A recent poll showed that 54% of Americans ages 18-34 want to become entrepreneurs. But, starting your own business is not so simple. In fact, approximately half of new businesses in the United States close within four or five years of opening.

A law firm is a business. As an attorney, you are selling your legal skills and expertise. Whether you are fresh out of law school or you have been part of an established firm for a few years, starting your own law firm can be a very attractive option. However, there are a lot of things you need to consider before starting your firm. When you run your own law firm, you are doing more than just practicing law and helping clients: you are running a business. If you are considering starting your own law firm, think about the following points. They provide a starting framework for you to consider before moving forward with your plan. Once you have considered the following, there is still more to work out. For instance, a budget, a business plan, and whether you will partner with another attorney or work alone.

What Is Your Practice Area?
Do you have a strong record in your chosen practice area? Are you known in your community as an expert in this area of law, or are you a relative newcomer to practicing law?

Research how well represented your practice area is in your region. It can be much easier to stand out among other firms if you work in a practice area that is not well represented in your city or state. If your practice area is well represented, you can still succeed as an attorney in this area – you will just need to focus harder on setting yourself apart from your competitors.

You Need the Correct Licenses and Permits
Obviously, you need to be qualified to practice law. This is what you went to law school and passed the bar exam for.

But, to run a business, you need to obtain a federal Employer ID Number (EIN) as well as any necessary local or state business permits. This includes registering your law firm. Learn the differences between company types such as LLC, LLP, and LLLP to work out which type meets your needs best.

You Need Presence
As a business owner, your brand is everything. Do you have a strong brand presence? Ask a friend or relative to objectively evaluate the image you are putting together for your proposed law firm. If you do not have a website, hire a professional web designer to create and manage one for you. In 2015, you need to be on the internet to be successful. Communicate your vision, values, and experiences clearly through your website.

Virtual Paralegal Services for Your Firm
Running a business or law firm can be a huge distraction and take you away from the most valued use of your time, engaging your clients. Don’t go it alone – you have access to an entire team of legal support professionals. Learn how Virtual Paralegal Services can help you with on-demand, professional legal staffing as well as back office management such as time and billing support.