How to Start a Law Firm

How to Start a Law Firm is an indispensable guide for anyone thinking about establishing their own firm.

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About The Book

This is a friendly and accessible guide that you’ll want to have on hand at every stage of the journey; from the initial planning stages including choosing the right structure, to early teething problems, to expansion and beyond. In this book you’ll find all the practical guidance you’ll need to set up and manage a law firm.

This includes guidance on regulations, advice on taking care of your clients, a course in digital marketing, information about staffing and managing finances, a look at the opportunities offered by technology and AI, lessons in how to develop the mindset of a business owner and Covid-19. You’ll also benefit from interviews with established law firm owners who’ve shared the most important lessons they learnt when starting out.

Whats inside

  • Could you start a law firm?
  • Choosing the right structure
  • The first steps of your start up
  • Funding your law firm
  • Do you need a premises?
  • Branding your business
  • Finding clients and establishing networks
  • Taking care of your clients
  • Establishing systems and processes
  • Managing the firm’s finances
  • Making technology work for you
  • Employing staff
  • Wellbeing and work/life balance
  • Growth and expansion
  • Exit strategies
  • Covid-19; Case studies, Appendix.

About The Authors

About Rachel

Initially qualified as a Legal Executive in 2007, Rachel then qualified as a solicitor in 2009, subsequently winning Sole Practitioner of the Year in 2018 at The Law Society’s Excellence Awards.

Here’s what the Law Society said:

“Rachel truly gives us a glimpse into the future of sole practice. By using technology to provide new ways of doing things, she manages to both address a legal need and provide a valuable and accessible service to clients. By providing invaluable free advice through self-published booklets she de-mystifies the law and attracts and maintains clients.”

About Darren

Darren Sylvester is a qualified barrister (England & Wales) and qualified Solicitor (England & Wales) with over 15 years’ experience in criminal and civil litigation. Darren is an advocate of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) and has been involved in many forms of ADR to bring cases to a resolution.

Passionate about offering high quality legal advice in a timely fashion, Darren founded DJS Law Solicitors in 2016.

Darren regularly speaks and writes on professional negligence issues, by request.

When I started my firm 8 years ago, I would have loved to have had a book like this to refer to.  For anyone sitting at their desk dreaming of autonomy but not knowing where to start in terms of bringing that dream to life, this is the book for you.  This book provides not only a roadmap to follow, it also illustrates each stage by utilising case studies – including my own.  In the words of the great Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Show “Don’t dream it, be it.

Belinda Lester, Managing Director at Lionshead Law

This book will save you hours of research, or reassure you that you’re heading in the right direction. That’s worth *way* more than the cover price. Advice mixed with practical commentary from others who’ve done similar to you is a great way to learn. It’s also a boost that, as others have done it, you can do it too.

Neil Brown, Experienced, tech-savvy solicitor, helping Internet, telecoms, and tech businesses achieve their commercial goals

This book is a veritable treasure trove of what to do, and what definitely not to do, if you’re planning to start your own law firm. From advice about creating your business plan, through how to establish your policies and procedures, to the legalities of marketing, hiring staff, and expansion & growth, with real life case studies from the people who have walked the path before you. Do yourself a favour and invest the time in reading this book before setting off on the rollercoaster of running your own practice.

Anna Newport, Property Solicitor at Newport Land and Law Limited

Starting a law firm is a challenge. You have to navigate a route involving business skills, personal resilience and compliance. Each is a distinct puzzle with different skills and solutions. How to Start a Law Firm is a simple, clear and practically helpful roadmap to help you achieve your ambitions. It should be on the shelf of everyone seeking to start a law firm or who has done so in the last few years, it contains numerous small tips to return to time and again.

Paul Bennett, Lawyer to law firms and lawyers

Having recently established an in-house ABS from scratch, this guide is proving to be an invaluable resource. It is very well written and acts as a trusted companion along the journey of establishment, expansion and beyond. If you are starting your own law firm or even looking to expand an existing firm, put this book at the top of your wish list – you won’t regret it!

Joseph Arazi, Head of Legal Practice, Travelers Legal

This is an invaluable guide for any professional thinking of establishing a legal service company, covering all aspects of business management – funding and finance, marketing, client care and systems, with a particularly useful chapter on how to achieve a work-life balance. Case studies are also provided all of which will be very helpful to readers.

Ian Yule

Now, more than ever lawyers have the opportunity to create their own path, Rachel and Darren’s book is very timely, especially if you have decided this is for you. ‘How to start a Law Firm’ is well written by two successful Legal Business Owners whom I respect. Their book is contains all you need to think about and know before taking the leap into ‘ownership’ in order for you to deliver your legal expertise or products to your target market.

Read the full book review here.

Ann Page , Business Author, Motivational Trainer and Coach enabling lawyers to master their business skills

When Darren informed me that he was embarking on this project alongside Rachel Roche, I knew that it would be welcomed, well researched and informative resource. Each chapter of this book provides a rich source of material not only for the start up sole practitioner but adaptable to any form of legal practice. In addition, it serves as an excellent refresher for those like myself established in practice and perhaps require that additional skills to harness their existing practice. Chapter 12 Employing Staff was of particular interest.  The most reflective chapter was Chapter 11,  offering services online particularly as digital ways of  working is becoming the new norm. However, the final words of the book at page 272 stand out for me, the authors conclude that, “Ultimately,  you will need to develop your own personal criteria for success and focus on building a law practice that is right for you, not anyone else”.

Simone Bowman, Eng.Wales Barrister | Caribbean qualified Attorney | Law Reform Research Consultant

I purchased this book for two reasons, firstly, co-author, Darren Sylvester was instrumental in my personal journey to understand the justice system when I was seeking justice for my father in a clinical negligence matter, which was ultimately successful, and inspired me to become a lawyer. Secondly, I knew it would serve as a prized resource to help me start my own law firm in the future! The book is a comprehensive guide to any lawyer starting out and I have already learnt a great deal about the different business structures available to independently practising lawyers. The case studies featured throughout, bring life to the book and I believe this is a must-have resource for any practising or aspiring lawyer!

Ms Denneth

How to Start a Law Firm provides a plethora of practical information, real life stories and the invaluable gift of hindsight. It’s an imperative read for anyone considering venturing out on their own into the legal world. Knowing the law and having clients is only a fraction of what it takes to be successful in this field. What Darren and Rachel have done with this book is given those wanting to start out everything in between. All of the  building blocks required can finally be found in one place and, most importantly, in a digestible manner.

Shazia Malik, Owner, Partner at V&S Solicitors LLP

Darren and Rachel have crafted a most worthy roadmap on how to build a law practice. Having read it, I can attest to the fact that is also a valuable resource to those lawyers who are already on their way. The work is a treasure trove of gems on how to get it done.

This book is not some turgid prose full of obtuse legalisms. It is a hands-on primer that any young lawyer looking to start a practice in the United Kingdom, United States, the Caribbean or elsewhere would do well to read. Sylvester and Roche by such unselfish service in sharing their knowledge have burnished the practice of law. In so doing, they have set a ladder in place that other legal practitioners can now ascend. A great read!

Read Gabriel’s full review here.

Gabriel J. Christian, Esquire, Managing Attorney, Maryland Attorney at Law

If there was ever a book that does what it says on the tin, this is it. And if ever there was a time to start a law firm, it’s probably now!

Aspiring law practice owners will need to have this book firmly tucked under their arm when setting out on such a significant journey. They will certainly be inspired by the authors’ blend of enthusiasm and downright common sense.

Fiona du Feu , Delivering compliance confidence for busy lawyers

Making the decision to run your own firm is not a simple step and this book is an excellent guide. It is full of common sense advice and stories of how others have avoided pitfalls. The book shows that rule one is to think like a business owner and not only a lawyer.

David Pickup, Partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors

The book tells you what to look out for and what questions to ask yourself and others, whilst providing a great deal of practical information. Reading this book when the idea of setting up on your own is no more than a fantasy will help you decide if it is one worth pursuing. If you decide to go for it, the book then transforms into a very practical ‘How To….’ guide. I recommend it.

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Managing Director, Scott-Moncrieff & Associates Ltd

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