How To Start A Law Firm
Whether you’ve spent years working in someone else’s firm or are fresh out of law school, the temptation to start your own law firm is always there. But starting your own firm can also be a big risk, particularly when you’re giving up a six-figure salary to do it. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of money, as long as you keep costs low–but it will take a lot of determination.
Choose a location. If you’re working out of your home, you don’t have much choice. But if you’re working out of an office, choose your territory wisely. Try to find a neighborhood that’s young and thriving. Established law practices are slow to expand with city limits, and you can make a name for yourself out of their shadow.
Select an area of specialty. Whether it’s venture capitalism financing or insurance law, you need to pick one thing to do well. The location you choose may have an influence: For example, a quick-growing city may have a need for real estate law experts. Choose a subject that is under represented in your area.
Get your name out there. Advertise in newspapers and neighborhood publications. Establish an Internet presence, and consider running a blog offering elementary law advice on your subject. Explore your marketing options through the latest technologies, including social networking websites, which law firms are typically slow to pick up on and use to their benefit.
Grow Your Bankruptcy Law Practice
Starting your own bankruptcy law practice is a smart move. But as you might have realized, running it isnt a walk in the park. But with these tips, you now know some of the steps you can take to grow your practice and make it profitable.
All the best and keep reading our online law magazine for more tips and insights.
Katherine Bishop is a staff writer for Attorney at Law Magazine. She has been a writer with the publication for more than four years. She also writes for Real Estate Agent Magazine.
Keep Track Of Every Detail Deadline And Document
Bankruptcy law lies in the details. Your ability to prepare a solid case and hit every deadline is directly linked to your ability to stay organized. Clio helps you track every important piece of information, generate documents, stick to a winning processand get paid for your work.
Track related contacts
Know everyone youre working withjudges, creditors, co-debtors, and trusteesby adding related contacts to every case.
Track specific client details
Record details needed for your firm’s day-to-day in custom contact data fields. Add custom fields for bankruptcy clients such as SSN, income figures, asset figures, and more.
Use Clios bankruptcy law software to make the collection process smoother for everyone.
Offer cost certainty to your clients
Create customized billing plans. Bill clients based on hourly rates, flat fees, or on a contingency basis.
Accept trust deposits easily
Accept upfront retainer pre-payments into trust, and transfer these payments into operating accounts in accordance with trust accounting guidelines. Use Clio Payments to protect IOLTA accounts from chargebacks in the event of a dispute.
Schedule recurring payment plans
Set recurring payments based on what clients can afford, or arrange automatic top-ups for trust accounts. Improve your cash flow with payment plans you can set and forget.
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If You Are A Bankruptcy Lawyer Right Now You Are A Fool Not To Be Sharpening Your Teeth Whether Youre A Bankruptcy Associate Or Not Now Might Be The Time To Consider Whats On Offer In The Practice That Booms When Others Bust
As the Covid-19 pandemic withers the global economy and businesses pay the price, the legal markets counter-cyclical reply is to put more faith in bankruptcy, restructuring and reorganization . Firms are reassigning juniors by the hundred and revving up their search for lateral talent in preparation for an unprecedented influx of work. The same thing happened when I was an associate at Vinson & Elkins in 2009/10, says Ali Kelly, who split her 11 years as a BRR associate between V& E and Kirkland & Ellis. Shes now deputy general counsel at a New York real estate investment company. We pulled lawyers from every department, she recalls.Firms will repurpose at the junior level: first to third year, those folks are fungible. But the nice thing is that whatever your expertise litigation, finance, M& A theres work for everyone under this gigantic umbrella, just in a Chapter 11 setting.
Taylor Miller, a managing director at legal recruitment firm Whistler Partners, thinks this market shift should give anyone considering a move pause for thought. Having started my career after the previous recession, I’ve found that bankruptcy attorneys tend to have generally similar goals and challenges as their colleagues in other practice areas, he says. The difference now is that the incredible demand for their skillsets allows them to address their goals and challenges with an exciting degree of leverage, in absolute terms and relative to non-bankruptcy attorneys.
If You Can’t Afford A Bankruptcy Attorney
While having a bankruptcy lawyer on your side will almost always be better than filing yourself, not all debtors can afford legal counsel. If it isn’t a possibility, you might consider:
- getting help from a local free clinic or legal aid society
- finding a pro bono attorney to accept your case at a free or reduced rate, or
- paying most of the attorneys’ fees through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
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Bankruptcy Practice Handbook 2d
Organized by type of case and by type of party , Bankruptcy Practice Handbook, 2nd Edition furnishes cost-efficient and practice-effective methods for enforcing your client’s rights and obtaining appropriate remedies. This multivolume set guides you through every stage of the bankruptcy process, from initial contact through final resolution, and contains:
- Strategies and approaches that have been tested in actual bankruptcy cases
This set helps you:
- Determine whether a bankruptcy filing is necessary and under which chapter to file
- Collect important and necessary information from the client
- File initial papers for Chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13 cases or for involuntary cases
- Identify issues and circumstances that may arise with particular types of creditors
- Analyze the Schedules of Assets and Liabilities, the Statement of Financial Affairs, and Proofs of Claim
- Prepare for the meeting of creditors
- Prosecute or defend against avoidance actions
- Determine dischargeability of debts, discharge of the debtor, and exceptions to discharge
Use The Naca Resource Page
The National Association of Consumer Advocates online webinars and professional development packages offer the tools and advice that help you build your professional skills, improve your practice, and make you a fierce advocate for consumers.
NACAs curated on-demand webinar series provide real-world scenarios and solutions with the best practices for successful consumer advocacy law including bankruptcy:
- Bankruptcy for Consumer Litigators: What You Should Know When a Bankruptcy Interrupts Your Case
- Reimagine Damages: Automatic Stay and Discharge Violations in Bankruptcy Court
- Litigating Adversary Proceedings in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases
The professional development package includes the following webinars to aid you in improving your bankruptcy practice:
- Litigating Adversary Proceedings in Consumer Bankruptcy Cases
- Managing Student Loans in Bankruptcy
- Student Loans: Is Bankruptcy the Right Choice
- Discharge Violations
- Reimagine Damages: Automatic Stay and Discharge Violation in Bankruptcy Court
Additionally, you will learn how to file an adversary proceeding pursuant to the Bankruptcy Rules and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, how and when to address student loans in bankruptcy, how to address discharge violations in bankruptcy cases, and how to develop automatic stay cases to maximize damages following the In re Sundquist decision.
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Get A Free Cell Number
So you think you need a special office or business phone to carry around with you? Think again. With the tools we teach you in this lesson, you will learn how to get a free business phone number that will forward directly to your cell phone, for free. The goal is to make and receive calls directly from your normal cell but with a different phone number without having to pay for another phone.
Invest In Professional Marketing Services
If you already have a strong online presence because of organic marketing techniques, thumbs up! However, thats not enough.
Your competitors are certainly investing in professional digital marketing services, and so should your firm. On your own, theres only so much you can do to market your bankruptcy law practice. After all, youre a lawyer, not a professional marketer.
A professional legal marketer will design and implement a marketing strategy for your firm. This might include running pay per click ads targeting top keywords in your industry. Youll see a clear increase in the number of client inquiries.
Whats more, you dont have to hire an in-house legal marketer. You just need to outsource the task to an experienced legal marketing agency. Outsourcing is cheaper.
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The Two Types Of Bankruptcy
THE FRESH START BANKRUPTCY is the fastest and easiest form of bankruptcy for an individual. Known officially as chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are able to eliminate your dischargeable debts without making any repayments.
If you qualify, your entire case will generally last for only 3-4 months. If the value of your assets and property are below values established by law, you will retain your home, car, and other property, while eliminating your debt.
A REPAYMENT PLAN BANKRUPTCY is a plan that your creditors must honor once confirmed by the court. This chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you the advantage of having set monthly payments over a set duration.
This bankruptcy allows you to make one monthly payment to the court, which will be divided up automatically and paid to your creditors in some cases for pennies on the dollar. At the end of the repayment term, any unsecured unpaid balances will be discharged. A typical chapter 13 bankruptcy will last from 36-60 months.
Rustam Kurmaev & Partners
Since its establishment in 2017, dispute resolution boutique Rustam Kurmaev & Partners has become a preferred destination for financial institutions and large Russian and international companies. The groups insolvency work spans high-value bankruptcy cases it places a particular emphasis on creditor-side representations across sectors such as construction, financial services, and mining. The department is spearheaded by Dmitry Kletochkin and Oleg Permyakov. Name partner Rustam Kurmaev is also a key contact.
Yamaha Motor CIS
- Representing the creditors of Most Group in a 757m bankruptcy case brought against the Russian Federal Tax Inspectorate and multiple independent minor creditors.
- Advising the Russian Standard Bank in relation to challenging the claims of the bankruptcy commissioner of a counterparty.
- Representing Most Vostok, the creditor in 1.1bn bankruptcy proceedings against the Russian Federal Tax Inspectorate.
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How To Start Practicing Bankruptcy Law
Next, let’s discuss starting your own law firm. Remember that it will take the right balance of business and law knowledge. But starting your own practice gives you lots of flexibility and control, and you can choose what clients you want to work with. Make sure you have clear goals for your practice and create a vision why are you creating a law practice and how are you different from other attorneys?
Youll then have to figure out your pricing structure , communication methods, workspace and location, and overall business model.
Next up well discuss how to start advertising your bankruptcy law firm.
Think About Whats Important To You
One of the main draws of going solo is a desire for freedomwhether that means freedom over your time or over the workload you take on. With this in mind, its key to define what you want from your practice before you select a focus.
Take some time to consider your strengths, temperament, and interests. This can narrow the field to the areas that are best suited to you. Do you thrive in a high-pressure, high-emotion environment? Acknowledging that may guide you towards practice areas like family lawwhere thriving amidst personal drama can be a strength. Are you happiest digging into detailed documents? You might be drawn towards real estate law.
Keep in mind that your capacity, marketing budget, and client base wont be as robust as a big firms when you start as a solo. Choosing a legal niche that you care about lets you stand out from competitorswhich can translate into more business and higher rates for your solo firm.
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What Are The Best Areas Of Law To Practice
While there are many complexities to consider when choosing your solo practices focusits important to say this from the start: The best area of law for you is an area that you are interested in, that you have an aptitude for, and that youre excited about.
Theres no one-size-fits-all best solution when it comes to the legal practice areas. The best practice areas look totally different for different attorneys. Focusing on an area that you think will make the most moneybut bores you to tears or that doesnt align with your valueswill likely leave you unhappy and wont motivate you to go after the success you originally envisioned.
The Meeting Of Creditors
The 341 meeting of creditors normally takes place in person. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Trustee has permitted trustees to conduct these meetings either by phone or via video conference. Trustees verify the filersâ social security number either via video or by asking for documentation in preparation for the meeting.
While itâs not clear that remote 341 meetings will remain an option post-pandemic, anecdotal evidence suggests that trustees, debtors, and bankruptcy attorneys all like the efficiency of remote 341 meetings.
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Norton Bankruptcy Law And Practice 3d
Representing the work of scores of bankruptcy judges and practitioners, Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice offers step-by-step guidance for the entire bankruptcy process for Chapter 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 15 matters, as well as 500-plus practice forms. This comprehensive 13-volume treatise covers:
- Litigation aspects of bankruptcy
- Liquidation and reorganization procedures for special entities
- The interrelation of bankruptcy with related laws, such as environmental, intellectual property, ERISA, and others
- Court organization and powers
- Claims and distributions to creditors
- Debtors’ duties and benefits
- Two binders containing the Bankruptcy Code, related statutes, Bankruptcy Rules, FRCP, Rules of Evidence, and all official forms
- The two-pamphlet Norton Code and Rules set, for desktop reference to the same information as the binders
- Practice materials relocated to appendixes at the back of their related chapter, rather than placed in separate volumes
- Flowcharts depicting typical procedural steps under each chapter of the Bankruptcy Code
- Official bankruptcy forms prescribed by the Judicial Conference of the United States
- Director’s procedural forms with guidance on when and how to use the forms most effectively
What Documents Do You Need To File For Bankruptcy
The documents you’ll need are the same whether you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 matter, with slight variations. However, for exact documentation requirements, be sure to check the guidelines provided by your district and your specific bankruptcy trustee. Not only do some trustees require more proof than others, but the particular evidence you’ll have to produce will also be determined by the facts of your case.
Below are the most commonly required documents in bankruptcy.
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Hiring Paralegals For Intake And Admin
Another consideration for your new bankruptcy law practice is how to get an extra hand on your cases. Hiring a paralegal will free up a lot of your time so you can focus on your clients and the business while an experienced professional takes on data entry and administrative tasks.
Now more than ever you may want to work with a virtual paralegal who helps you manage your cases from a remote location. You can hire paralegals via Paralegal as a Service from NextChapter and work with them only on a case-by-case basis. This is a cost-effective way to get the extra help you need with your bankruptcy cases. These legal professionals will also bring lots of industry knowledge to the table to help you start your practice.
How To Manage A Law Firm: Business Operations
Once your firm is established, the work of running and growing your firm continues. Too many lawyers delegate the management and financial operations of their firm to a third-party. This is a mistake. While bringing help is important, you want to make sure you understand your business from the inside out.
Step #7: Finances
As a business owner, youll need to understand the numbers.
Weve heard too many attorneys suggest that they choose law school to avoid numbers. As a business owner, you should be excited about your numbers. Your business exists to make a profit. You want to know that your firm is profitable and financially healthy, and if not, what levers youll need to pull to change things.
To do this, put sound financial practices for your business in place. This means:
- You have a documented long-term financial strategy and profitability model that aligns your short-term budgets and reports with your firms long-term goals.
- You have access to sufficient capital and cash flow to fund your firm for the foreseeable future .
- You follow written budgets and regularly monitor consistent financial reports and financial KPIs.
- Your invoicing, payment, and collection systems focus on your clients payment preferences so they will pay their bills on time.
- You pay yourself a consistent market-rate salary, separate from bonuses or distributions, and youre investing an appropriate amount of your pay towards savings and retirement. Paying yourself isnt optional.
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