Once you graduate from paralegal college, you will have to decide what your next career move will be. While graduates often pursue work within law offices or independent companies, others sometimes take the road less travelled and open their very own legal practice. Of course, if you choose to make the leap into opening a private practice, it is important to understand that you will be wearing the professional hats of both a paralegal and a business owner—which means double the responsibility and workload.
If you are truly passionate about owning your own legal services practice, you might consider these important steps for success.
Find Office Space
Finding an office location is an important first step for any business venture. When choosing the right office space for your practice, there are a variety of factors that you should consider, including: the cost of the property, whether you will be purchasing or renting, the location, and whether or not you plan to stay at the same office long-term. Of course, the cost of having an office should fit into your budget, and the office should be located in an area where you can easily attract and service your target client market. New business owners often find that purchasing or renting an office exceeds their budget, in which case a home office might be the ideal option.
Consider Your Finances
Individuals who have had paralegal training know that it is not possible to run and operate a legal services practice without the help of a financial institution. The financial institution or bank that you decide to work with will be responsible for managing the bank accounts and financial needs of your business. Since this is a relationship that will run long-term, it’s important to carefully consider which bank will best suit your business. Some factors to keep in mind when selecting a financial institution include: the services that are offered, the financing options you will have, how many bank accounts you will need, and the collateral that will be required to secure a loan.
Build a Great Team
During the first few months of opening your brand new paralegal practice, you may feel confident completing every legal and administrative task all on your own. While your paralegal courses will ensure that you are fully equipped to manage a wide range of legal responsibilities, you will eventually be required to hire a team to focus on non-legal tasks and administrative duties. This will allow you to use your time to focus on providing great paralegal services to clients. Hiring a team is also something that should be considered when you are mapping out your budget plan.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Of course, in order to attract clients to your new business, you will have to invest in an effective marketing strategy. First, you will have to develop a marketing plan to identify and define your target market, as well as the services you will be providing. Next, you’ll need to perform market research to assess whether your business will grow within the market.
When you first begin building your practice, you will likely have very little room in your budget for hiring a professional marketing team, however, this is something to consider for when you start to grow and generate profit.
Would you consider opening your own paralegal practice, or would you prefer to work for an existing firm?