A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Solo Law Practice in Washington State

If you want to start your own law practice instead of working for someone, you might be overwhelmed by the task ahead. Starting a place to start making your vision come true is difficult. Well, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to starting a solo law practice in Washington State to help you out!

 

Sort out your licensing

The first step to starting a solo law practice in Washington State is, obviously, to get properly licensed. You can qualify for this as long as you have completed the Washington Supreme Court APR 6 Law Clerk Program or graduated from an ABA-accredited law school with a Juris Doctor degree. Of course, if your goal is to start a solo law practice, you’ve likely completed this step already. But, it’s always good to start planning early!

 

It is useful to know what you’ll specialize in

Once you’ve sorted that out, a vital part of starting a solo law practice in Washington State is knowing what sort of cases you’d like to specialize in. While you do not have to confine yourself to anything, becoming known as an expert in a field is a worthy goal and can assist you in building your practice’s future. Naturally, you should still keep up with the newest developments in your professional, since you never know what sort of cases you’ll have.

 

Have a business plan in place

A solid business plan will be the backbone of your solo law practice. The basics of a business plan are important, such as the executive summary of your business. Things such as your mission statement, planned pro bono activities, goals, and even the barebones basics such as Name and Ownership of the practice as well as the model of Decision Making and Operation. However, there are other questions to consider and add to your business plan, too. How do you plan to break into the market? What is your plan for standing out among the competition? If you rush into doing business without figuring all this out, you’ll just regret it.

 

Sort out your finances and craft a budget

Setting and following a budget is one of the most important steps of starting a solo law practice in Washington State. Or anywhere else, for that matter! You need to be able to finance the beginnings of your business. Which, we will be honest here, won’t be easy. You need to cover the cost of everything you need to do business as well as the legal fees and taxes. And while there’s plenty of options for business storage and similar, the variety of helpful options does not make your expenses lower! Go into this venture knowing you’ll have to finance the first few months of running your solo law practice with very little income.

 

Have a marketing plan in place

Touching upon what we mentioned in the business plan passage, knowing how you want to approach marketing is crucial. We recommend making use of cheaper or outright free marketing strategies, first. Social media is always great for self-promotion, and costs you nothing. Another amazing route to organically appealing to clients is running a legal advice blog on your site. And, of course, a site for your solo law practice is the bare minimum of what you need!

 

Be open to work with other practices and law firms

When you are just starting out, it’s very helpful to work as a contractor to already established practices and law firms. You do not need to become an actual employee of theirs, but successful law firms frequently offload some of their excess work to contractors. And this is not just a perfect thing to tide you over until you have clients of your own. It will also let you form connections and ties in the industry which can be invaluable even when you are established yourself!

 

Schedule your time carefully

You will be extremely busy when first starting a solo law practice in Washington State. You will, effectively, be in charge of absolutely everything. That means handling the paperwork, planning, taxes, as well as your regular work on the cases that come your way. You’ll even need to purchase and figure out all the accounting software you’ll need! Things can become overwhelming quickly, and the only way to prevent that is through careful scheduling. You may, at first, even be forced to turn away additional work until you’ve found your feet.

 

Look into administrative assistance

Because of what we just discussed, it is very much a good idea to look into hiring some assistance. You do not need to take on full time employees. But, hiring someone to do your taxes and maybe even some administrative work as a contract can be life changing. Of course, once you are better established, you definitely want to work out in-house solutions for this.

 

Secure an office and equipment

You cannot properly run a solo law practice without a physical address, permanent business phone number, and other such details. Not to mention the equipment you’ll need, the office supplies, and the space to store your office supplies. Some issues, such as getting a private storage unit, the experts from PortaBox Stoage note you can solve rather easily. But some take more careful consideration. For example, you can work from a home office temporarily, but note that when you list your ‘business’ on Google My Business, changing your address, email and attached phone number is a lengthy and complicated process. And you will definitely need that platform and more listings on top in order to make your law practice a success!

 

Get yourself an insurance plan

You never want to do any sort of business without insurance. If something goes wrong, you can very easily lose your office space and all the equipment in it. As such, a solid insurance plan should always be accounted for in your budget and a priority as soon as you’ve secured a suitable office!

 

Sort out the smaller details of your business

The final step of starting a solo law practice in Washington State are the ‘minor’ concerns. Such as printing our business cards, getting a smart logo done, etc. These will all be necessary for building up your brand and spreading awareness of your practice among potential clients. This requires its own section in your budget, of course, but once you settle you’ll be ready to practice law on your own terms.

 

Slow and steady development is crucial for your solo law practice

With a step-by-step guide to starting a solo law practice in Washington State, you’ll be able to overcome most obstacles. Still, we want to emphasize that you need to take your time and set up your practice properly! Rushing into doing business will just leave behind problems you’ll need to tackle later. And can even make your venture fail.