Sunday, October 2, 2011

Top 5 Things to do for Free to Start Your Own Law Firm

As I have written in a previous post, it is much easier than you think to start your own Law Firm.  But there are 5 things you can do right off the bat for FREE to actually get yourself out there and really get your firm going.  So in no particular order:

5.  Business Cards. 

Every professional has one, even in this new technological age.  Having a business card accomplishes so much more than simply having your name on something.  First of all, it gives you something to hand out to every person you meet.  Whether it is another attorney, a friend, family member, neighbor, or just someone who may know someone who may need an attorney, it gives all your contact information out and in a form that you can easily pass on when you are not sitting in front of your computer.  And you know what happens when you have a client who was happy with the job you did?  They now have all your information to hand out to people they know and recommend your services. 

And the best thing is?  Getting really nice business cards costs so little to get made considering how necessary it is to have them.  I got double sided lamented business cards made at Vistaprint along with several sheets of address labels for my law firm for a total of $52.76.  Vistaprint even has deals for 250 FREE business cards not including shipping and handling.  Still a law student?  Get a business card to hand out at networking events.  Just get a business card to help market yourself, and get it now.

4.  Get Listed

 One of the first things I did when I started my firm, was just get myself out there wherever possible and for as little as possible.  There are so many sites for lawyer listings that are FREE and allow you to get visible on the internet.  You can see just some of the places I have been able to get listed on my website where I listed just a handful of websites I have created a profile on.  Just by getting myself listed on these websites, my firm now comes up listed on page after page in a Google Search.  As I have listed on my links page, these are some of my top recommendations for getting yourself listed:

Avvo - Attorney profiles and client ratings.  They also have a section that allows you to answer client legal questions which sometimes has the benefit of having that client hire you. 

JdSupra - This site is fantastic for both getting articles and documents you write out there, and to see what other attorneys in your practice area are writing about. 

RocketLawyer - This site is fast becoming the new trend in legal representation.  It allows clients to find you easily by your practice area and location, in addition to becoming a "Lawyer On Call" and finding clients fast. 

Nolo - The famous do-it-yourself publisher is becoming a go-to source for clients and now with their connection to ExpertHub, they can direct clients to you from hundreds of websites. 

3.  Get a website

You need a website.  Simple as that.  You need some website to list on your business cards, and somewhere to direct clients from all those other profiles I listed above.  It gives you legitimacy and it gives you exposure.  But you really don't have to spend thousands of dollars nor be an expert in website creation or Javascript.  For as little as $0.00 you can get something started on a site like Wordpress which makes it so amazingly easy to get something up and going.  I had my website created by LexisNexis, which also included listings and call tracking through and through Martindale.  This cost a little bit more to do, but it still worth every penny. 

2.  Meet People

You need to just get out of your apartment already and meet people.  Join your local bar associations which often times have cheap or free lawyer networking events.  They also have committee meetings every so often in your practice area where you can connect and potentially get client referrals from those you meet.  And you know what?  All these Bar associations usually have discounted rates for those:  1) right out of law school, only been practicing a few years, or just have their own solo practice.  I took a different route:  I moonlighted as a bartender on Wall Street

If you have always been extroverted this part will be easy.  If you have always been introverted, now is the time to break out of your shell and learn how to market yourself to everyone you meet.  You need people to leave a conversation with such a good impression of you, that they want to pass your information (through your business card) to someone who could use your services.   

1.  Write

You know what you are reading right now?  You're reading what I have been doing for #1.  If you are an attorney, chances are there are areas of law practice you have knowledge on, or simply some area you like to write about.  Well start writing.  Get a blog or just start writing articles and submitting them to sites like JdSupra and get yourself out there.  When people in the legal community start seeing your name pop up over and over again in reference to areas of law or some law practice subject matter, they start noticing you and what you have to say.  Whether you write for other lawyers, or you write for potential clients, the simple fact that you are willing to put in some time and effort to write shows you have the energy and intelligence to represent clients.  Writing costs nothing but time, and yet that time really can be used quite effectively.  Just start writing, and see what comes of it. 

So add all that up:  it is possible to do everything I have listed above FOR FREE.   These are 5 things that can make a huge difference in being able to get your own solo firm up and running when you may not have much money to invest.  If only have $100.00 total to invest you can get your own website domain and those nice double sides business cards for less than $100.00.  Regardless, just start getting it done and hang that shingle without going broke in the process!

Seth D. Schraier Esq., Attorney at Law
Law Office of Seth D. Schraier
3647 Broadway Suite 4G | New York, New York 10031
Tel: (914) 907-8632 | Fax: (212) 368-0991 |
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