This document was created by lawfirminabox. Please support us by checking out these services for lawyers:
* Ruby Receptionists: virtual receptions who can answer the phone while you are out of the office. Very popular among lawyers for use during court appointments or client meetings. Get $150 credit when you use our link.
* Practice Panther & Clio: Two very popular law firm practice software providers who can help you manage your practice. Get 10% off your first year of Practice Panther using our link or use our Clio referral code: AP-LAWFIRMINABOX.
* LastPass Password Manager. Make you and your office more secure.
* The Fujitsu SnapScan Pro. Make your office paperless with the most popular scanner for solos.
* Freshbooks accounting software.
* Startup Groundwork - a site for new entrepreneurs.
My Law Firm Name
1. Executive Summary
Write this section last. It merely summarizes the conclusions of the major sections below for a new reader, a potential partner or bank loan officer.
It should be no more than a page.
2. Firm Structure & Details
1. Legal Organization & Ownership Interests
List the following attributes of your firm to give the reader an idea of how it is structured, who owns it, and how much money each partner is planning on putting into the business.
Ethical Note: Many states restrict who can have ownership interests in a law firm, and what type of entity it can be.
* Legal Entity Type
* Partnership Interests
* Managing Partner
* Capital Contributions
* Tax structure
2. Contact Information
Just list your contact information. You can also list your social media accounts that you will be using or actively maintaining if they will be part of your marketing referral strategy.
* Website URL
* Social Media/Other
3. Legal Services Offered & Pricing
This section details what types of legal services you plan on offering. Start from a general practice perspective, such as criminal law, and then increasingly specify what types of cases you will handle.
For example, you might be a brand new solo handling criminal law concentrating on DUI’s, traffic offenses and low level misdemeanors by court appointment. Detail your fee structure (hourly, flat rate) and explain how you will charge clients (retainer, all up-front, a bill after representation has concluded). Specify your flat fees or hourly rates in this section so you can use them later for financial projections.
1. Practice Area 1
Concentration Area 1
* Fee Structure
Concentration Area 2
* Fee Structure
1. Practice Area 2
Concentration Area 1
* Fee Structure
Concentration Area 2
* Fee Structure
4. Marketing Plan
This section is for the finished product of your marketing strategy.
2. Marketing Summary
Use this space to write one or two paragraphs outlining your marketing plan, who your target market is, and how you will reach them. Treat this like an executive summary, writing it last after you have filled in the marketing detail below.
3. Target market
This section broadly defines who your target market is based on your practice areas. For example, an established trust and estates lawyer looking to go solo might define his or her market as the following: “The law firm of John Smith will target potential clients with assets of over $1 million dollars requiring advanced trust and estates planning.”
Example 2: The law firm of Jane Smith will target clients with construction defect claims in the Chicagoland area.
This section is meant as an exercise in thinking about who actually needs your services. Instead of just assuming people will show up your door, you think about what kind of people will actually buy what you will offer. The point is to purposely exclude people you know will not buy your services so that you end up with a group of potential clients that have a large chance of needing to hire you. Naturally, you should end up with a healthy but manageable group of potential clients.
4. Competition & Industry Metrics
This section details the strengths and weaknesses of your competition and the metrics of your market. Most of the work that goes into this section is research on the competition you have and how that might affect your practice and profitability. Use the research to adjust and refine your target markets. This section might take very long to complete because you may research something a competitor is doing that will affect your marketing strategy in a negative way. You might have to go back and redefine your target market or even add a practice area in a bid for more clients.
The competition section isn’t just limited to known entities, but also situations where you may not know who the competition is (because you don’t have the time or money to name them all individually), but where you can get an idea that it exists.
For example, you may be a new lawyer looking to do DUI work in a big city. One of your assumptions may be that you can run a Google ad-words campaign to attract clients looking for DUI lawyers on the web. During a competition search, you find that the bids for DUI keywords in Google are astronomically high. You have a lot of competition. In fact, they could be so high that you won’t have the capital to sustain your practice while you wait for the bills to be paid.
Other examples of industry metrics that will affect your marketing include a shortage or an overabundance of lawyers in your geographic area or specialty, changes in the law that make a certain type of work more or less profitable, or harder or easier to get into, and the aforementioned cost of marketing. Don’t forget to add in the positives too. If your area of law is hot, you may be able to raise your prices earlier or change your marketing channels to eliminate poor clients and take on better ones.
5. Target Market Segmentation & Marketing channels
The next step in a marketing plan is to segment your target market into different groups based on commonalities between them. Look at ways that your ideal clients may be grouped together.
Basically, you put all your target markets together into a lump and then segment them into distinct categories, based on the channels you will use to reach them.
Look for similarities in clients, such as demographics, age, wealth, gender, location, needs, wants, personality types, introductory settings, marketing channel or marketing cost. Basically, the things a marketing agency would do for you if you were to hire them, but in this case you are doing them yourself.
The idea behind market segmentation is to end up with groups that make it easy to market to them. For example, you might do a lot of elder law. People in nursing homes often need your legal services. So one of your market segments might be residents of nursing homes. You didn’t segment them out by what exact legal services they need, but by location, knowing that you can give presentations or send direct mail to residents of nursing homes, and that almost everyone that will receive your message might be in need of one of the types of legal services you offer.
You will notice that segmentation strategy is not always broken down by practice area. That’s because there might be a more important variable that potential clients have in common that overrides practice area.
Lastly, you might segment people based on your marketing budget or desirability. If you love a certain practice area and it’s profitable, you might spend your biggest marketing budget there. You might then chose less expensive means to reach your other practice area, like concentrating solely on referrals instead of expensive channels like paid search or direct mail.
6. Marketing Channels & Campaigns
This section basically details exactly how you will reach your target market segments. List your campaigns for each channel, in detail. The total cost in time and money should be within your budget, so this is where you decide on a budget and how you will spend your time marketing. You should have already figured out how much each channel costs, so you could have factored this into your target market segmentation strategy.
An example of each channel is below, but there are channels not listed that may be relevant to your practice area.
All forms of advertising, print and online, including paid search.
1. paid search
Google, Bing, etc.
2. direct mail
Postcards, pamphlets, newsletters.
3. Print advertising
Buying print ads in magazines, the yellow pages, or newspapers and billboards.
4. Online Advertising
Buying ads on websites, in e-newsletters and emails, or on forums, etc.
5. Other Advertising
Examples include busses, benches, the TV’s at the gym, etc.
Some people target specific markets to appeal to with published articles or information.
List publications you plan to write or write for. Include your website here if you plan on writing a blog. Detail your strategy; are you aiming to be seen as the “expert,” by other lawyers or is it consumer focused around educating people about the law.
List the markets you will target by working on getting referrals. A note on referrals: they generally decrease in quality over time. People refer clients who they think will be a good match for you, but eventually they run out of great matches and start to refer good matches, and then not-so-great matches, and so on. Every so often