Opening a Practice

Law Office storefront sign


Be cautious about accepting new matters until you lay the foundation for your new practice. This foundation means setting goals, obtaining business licenses, Finding services and technology resources, learning software, and setting up workflow systems.

Law Office in a Box Contents
Law Office in a Box®

LOMAP is pleased to offer a Business Plan Template in an editable PDF format. Use this template to get your business ideas down on paper in a format you can present to potential investors.

We also offer Law Office in a Box® for $50, which contains many useful forms and examples.

Regulatory Basics

Go to myWSBA to update your contact information in the public Lawyer Directory.

Accepting fees for your services means that you must acquire a business license for Washington and for the municipality where your practice is located and/or conducts business. Contact your municipality.

More information on opening a business in Washington is on the State of Washington Business Licensing Service website. The site includes a Business Licensing Resources Guide that allows you to select items that match your business plan to receive a list of contacts for city, county, state, and federal licenses and taxes.

Banks often ask for your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) before you can open a business account or a trust (IOLTA) account. Do you need a trust account? To find out, visit IOLTA and Client Trust Accounts.



Practical Basics

Office space. You can delay deciding about office space. If you choose an office setting, there are alternatives such as executive suites for full-time or part-time use, sub-rentals in law firms, and traditional lease arrangements. Here are some examples:


Business plan. Think about your goals and develop a plan. Examples are practice area, location, services, fee arrangements, budgets, financial resources, business development, and staffing. More information:


Practice area. Your practice area determines type of client, travel, interruptions, telephone usage, size of the file, and so forth. Choose a practice area that plays to your strengths. Resist the urge to specialize in many different practice areas unless you are truly going to be a generalist in a rural environment.  The decision to be a generalist should be considered thoughtfully. More information:


Technology. Use business-grade equipment. Have a solid and redundant backup system. Above all, devote the time necessary to learn how to use it all. Technology can assist with doing the work, managing the work, and turning your work into your fees. The "cloud" (Internet, Web) is another option, but choose a cloud vendor carefully.

 

Law Firm Business Plan Template

A free template to develop your business.

Guide to Best Practices for Client File Retention and Management

Firm Launch Guide

Free Resources for Starting a Law Practice

Law Office Management Consultations

Information on Scheduling a Consultation