Book review

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

As a business Author, (Business Skills? Don’t be daft I am a lawyer!) Trainer and Coach who teaches lawyers business skills I was delighted to be asked to review “How to Start a Law Firm’. Having taught nearly 7000 lawyers during the last 18 years I know that there is a serious gap on business knowledge and skills by lawyers for lots of reasons.

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 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.

The case studies in both books show lawyers who have leaped then learnt the hard way, and not one of them recommends that you do this. So, reading both books will at least minimise (not eliminate) your business learning journey.

I liked Chapter 1 where it compares and contrasts employment with ownership because it is important to know the differences before taking the leap. This is followed by Chapter 2 highlighting what structures and regulators would be best for you as there are now a number of options which were not traditionally open to lawyers.

Funding your ‘firm’ is an important aspect which the writers have succinctly covered in Chapter 4 to enable you to make informed decisions at the beginning and as your business grows. Chapter 10 focuses on financial management which is key to staying in business with Chapter 15 reviewing exit strategies for when you want to move on.

In between those chapters are ones you would expect to see that cover branding, marketing, client relationship management and technology (systems and hardware). There is even a section on offering legal services online including the types that suit this route to market.

I was delighted to read that they recommended leadership and management training when employing staff as this is a subject that is dear to my heart. This Chapter also provides a ‘birds eye view’ of the legislation requirements and pitfalls when recruiting.

The has a very important Chapter 13 on well-being as it is easy to become ‘swallowed up’ providing signposts as to what to look out for and where to go. It ends with the impact of COVID on legal practices as at June 2020.

I want to finish this review by saying this book is very readable by those who want to go this route and those that serve lawyers setting up on their own. I highly recommend it, even if you do not want to start a law firm now or in the near future as it will give you a fundamental insight as to what is involved which is invaluable wherever you are in your legal career.