What to Consider When Studying Law
The biggest dream for many law students is to one day open their own law firm. Not only do you get to practice law, but you get to do it on your terms, and help the people that you want to help in the way that you want to help them.
While it is true that starting your own law firm is incredibly rewarding, and many lawyers regard it as the best thing they have done, you must take the time to think about whether it is the right thing for you. As soon as you own a law firm, you are not just a lawyer, you are a business owner. This means that you will be managing people, thinking about marketing and business plans, and not just working on your cases. Lawyerist is an online community where those who practice law can discuss their careers. It would definitely be worth speaking to people who have already done it through a forum like this to see if starting a law firm is definitely the right fit for you.
Once you have decided you definitely go ahead, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your practice will be as successful as possible while you are still studying.
Law is a highly competitive field. If you want to run a successful law firm, you will need to make sure that you have the experience and skills that you will need to attract and retain clients. Luckily, these experiences and skills can all be gained through your university:
- Work experience. This is one of the most valuable things that you can do. Use your holidays and spare time to get work experience in a law firm and make sure that you use your time there productively. Speak to as many people as possible about their careers, in particular those running the firm if that’s something you aspire to do. They will be able to share valuable insights with you, and they may even become a business connection that you can lean on for support when the time comes to start your own firm. Most importantly, turn up on time, dress smartly, be reliable, and do a good job. People talk. Make sure they only have good things to say about you!
- Networking. Universities are a fantastic resource for networking. If your school has one join the law society, and network as widely as possible within it. Not only will this give you a social group to lean on for support while you are studying, but if you maintain those networks after you graduate, they will become your business contacts.
- Practice advocacy and debating. If you can hone these skills while you are still studying, you will be in an excellent position when you graduate and start working on your own cases. These skills, combined with your knowledge of the law, will make you really stand out.
Get experienced with technology
If you want to open your own law firm, this also means that you will be responsible for the technology within it. Make sure that you have enough knowledge of what systems are out there that can make your life easier so that you can get your new emerging practice off on the best possible footing. For example, redbricksolutions.co.uk offers specialist case management systems that are designed to help save legal firms both time and money by taking care of the organisational, financial, and paperwork aspects of case management.
If you aren’t particularly confident with technology, it would definitely be worth making it a priority to take some courses so that you don’t feel out of your depth when you graduate. Although law used to be a more paper-based industry, it is now coming into the digital age, and law firms who don’t utilise technology will be left behind by those that do.
Learn about marketing
If you speak to an experienced law professional, they will most likely tell you that the way to build your client base is through doing excellent work and getting referrals. While this is still true to an extent, as with most industries, the law is changing direction. If you want your law firm to succeed, you must have a social media and digital marketing strategy. Although you could certainly outsource this aspect of your business down the line, at the start, you may need to do it yourself, and even if you can outsource straight away, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you would want your branding and direction to be. Make some time to learn the basics of digital marketing, you can get an overview just by watching YouTube tutorials.
How will you pay for it?
When starting your practice, your goal should be to borrow as little money as possible so that you have to pay back as little as possible. The way to do this is to first ascertain exactly what you will need to spend. This is where the community contacts we talked about earlier will come in handy, as they will be able to warn you about any costs that you hadn’t thought of. Once you have your magic number, you can start thinking about how to get hold of the money.
Depending on your situation, the best thing to do may be to get a loan from a friend or a family member as they won’t charge you interest! Or you could start a crowdfunding campaign, or even take a temporary job to raise funds. Of course, you can approach a bank for a loan, but do bear in mind that they make their money on interest. This means that they will try to loan you as much money as possible so that you have to pay as much attention as possible. If you do approach a bank, absolutely only borrow what you need!