How to Start a Law Firm

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Photo courtesy of pdeonarain on Flickr

Whether you've spent years working in someone else's firm or are fresh out of law school, the temptation to start your own law firm is always there. But starting your own firm can also be a big risk, particularly when you're giving up a six-figure salary to do it. The good news is that it doesn't take a lot of money, as long as you keep costs low--but it will take a lot of determination.

Decide whether to run your law firm out of your home or an office. While an office has a more professional touch, it can also cost a lot of money. You can offset the disadvantage of working out of your home by making home visits to clients, saving them time and saving you from renting.

Choose a location. If you're working out of your home, you don't have much choice. But if you're working out of an office, choose your territory wisely. Try to find a neighborhood that's young and thriving. Established law practices are slow to expand with city limits, and you can make a name for yourself out of their shadow.

Select an area of specialty. Whether it's venture capitalism financing or insurance law, you need to pick one thing to do well. The location you choose may have an influence: For example, a quick-growing city may have a need for real estate law experts. Choose a subject that is under represented in your area.

Get your name out there. Advertise in newspapers and neighborhood publications. Establish an Internet presence, and consider running a blog offering elementary law advice on your subject. Explore your marketing options through the latest technologies, including social networking websites, which law firms are typically slow to pick up on and use to their benefit.