Opening a Practice

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

Our New Practice Packet includes information about establishing a law practice. Contact lomap@wsba.org for information.

We also offer the Law Office in a Box® for $119, which contains the New Practice Packet and many useful forms and examples; the price also includes an hour of consultation time.

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.

Business License – Washington

Business License – Seattle

Business License – Spokane

Business License – Vancouver

Banks often ask for your Federal Employer Identification Nmber (EIN) EIN Application before you can open a business account or a trust (IOLTA) account. Do you need a trust account? To find out, see 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.

Executive Suite Example 1

Executive Suite Example 2

Leased Office

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.

Resources from the SBA

Getting Started Resources

SCORE

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.

Article — "Choosing a Practice Area" 

Talk to Your Peers 

Article — "Where the Work Is" 

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 turing the work into your fees. The "cloud" (Internet, Web) is another option, but choose a cloud vendor carefully. See technology vendor links.

ABA Legal Technology Resource Center 

Article — "Tech Competence"  

Article — "Cloud Computing"  

Insurance — Professional liability insurance is not required in Washington. We recommend that you have such insurance coverage. Consider other insurance coverages in addition.

Article — "Professional Liability Insurance" 

WSBA-Sponsored Insurance   

Law Office in a Box ®

Free New Practice Packet

Request your free new practice packet today!

Law Office Management Consultations

Information on Scheduling a Consultation and Fees