You wouldn’t believe how many different industries are represented at thinkspace. We have members that work in iPhone app development, social media consulting, family and professional counseling, marketing, accounting, distributing…. and, quite a few companies in legal! I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks that I have seen being used by our most-savvy attorney start-ups to help those that are also looking to start their law practice out on the right foot! When starting a solo law office, keeping overhead costs down will ensure a less stressful and more successful start for your practice!
1. Build your own website.
In the last couple of years, the option to build your own website has become even more of a possibility to those that consider themselves less than tech-savvy. Helpful website platforms have emerged that offer pre-made “skins” (personalized designed for websites, so much of the coding work has been taken out. Check out WordPress, Jumla, and Drupal for some great platforms to build your site off of. If you know that you don’t have the time to devote to building your own professional legal site, there are many website developers that offer amazing deals for new/start-up companies, starting at around $1,000. thinkspace has had the opportunity to create quite a few of our members (including attorney’s) sites as they are just starting up. We would be happy to talk to you about what you are looking for or recommend one of our trusted website partners.
2. Hire a Virtual Receptionist.
Having a live receptionist answer your phones has proven to be an exceptional choice for attorneys. thinkspace member Nathan Neiman of Neiman Law has found using an off-site receptionist service to be extremely efficient and affordable for his law firm, “thinkspace has liberated me from an enormous administrative burden. The superior staff at thinkspace exhibits the highest professionalism, especially handling incoming telephone calls from clients, client prospects, opposing counsel and most importantly from the Court. I can focus on my professional responsibility without concern thanks to the thinkspace staff.” If you are looking to pay the minimum wage for a receptionist (and good luck hiring a decent one if that is all you are willing to pay) at $8.67 an hour, you would pay $370 a week for a 40-hour work week. Add on around 8.5% that a small business employer pays in taxes, and it will end up costing you $401 a week for that 40 hours of receptionist work. That turns into about $1,604 a month, on average. And, that is minimum wage, imagine if you were to pay more! A virtual receptionist service (like the one that thinkspace provides), costs quite a bit less. There are quite a few packages, and the smallest option includes 50 receptionists minutes, and costs $139/month (you only pay for the minutes that a receptionist is actually working a call). The next package includes 100 receptionists minutes, and it costs $199/month. The final option includes 200 receptionists minutes, and costs $339/month. At these rates, your law firm will be saving anywhere from $1,265 to $1,465 per month!
3. Sign up for a Virtual Office.
Many new attorneys consider working from home because there are quite a few law firms that can’t immediately afford office space. This is totally understandable, but these firms need to make a decent effort in ensuring that their clients’ needs are always met. For example, if you are planning on working from home, be sure to secure a business address before you begin your practice (and, that doesn’t mean a post office box). Find a facility that offers virtual office space. One that has a frontdesk staff that can accept documents from your clients and greet any clients that might want to swing by without letting you know. Frontdesk staff is also vital if you need to accept items from a courier. Many virtual office spaces also offer conference rooms that you can rent by the hour for when you need to meet with your clients.
4. Use free marketing opportunities.
Social media is a great marketing tool for companies of all sizes. However, it is particularly helpful marketing for companies that are just starting up because of the zero cost price tag associated with it. There are a lot of things that you can do right with social media, but there are also a lot of things that you can do wrong. Being able to make the distinction between an interesting tweet and one that is only pushing your product is vital to your social media success. In all aspects of social media, your “friends” or “followers” are not necessarily interested in only information about your particular law firm, they are interested in useful information that applies to their life. (Maybe send out daily tips on what to look for in an attorney, the best practices to follow when listening to legal advice, etc.) Once they see you as a credible source, you may end up with them as a client.
Implementing these tips could help save you tens of thousands of dollars a year. I would love to hear feedback on what other law firms are doing to keep their overhead low. If you have any feedback, feel free to ping me at alyssa (at) thinkspace (dot) com or leave a comment below.