Running A Law Practice: The Business Plan
CDTA accepted its first class of students in 2012, focusing on a more logical, practical approach to legal education in the 21st Century. This focus emphasizes the same extensive educational platform as traditional law schools while considering the traditional deficiencies of today’s law school graduates. At CDTA, not only do we educate students, but we also train and develop them to be exceptional trial advocates.
Formulating a business plan is the first critical step in planning your law practice. Where do you start? Creating a business plan involves answering questions about yourself that define you and clearly establish your goals.
Define yourself in the present and then define who you want to be, i.e., what kind of lawyer you want to be at some defined point in the future.
- What Do I Want/Expect from Life?
Where do you want to be in five years? In ten years? How much do you want to be working in twenty years? Does it matter?
- What Resources Do I Have Available?
Who are your mentors?
- What Am I Willing to Commit to the Practice?
How much time are you willing to work each week? How much time are you willing to work in support of your goals?
- What Am I Selling/Providing?
What is your mission statement? What are the types and range of services that you want to provide? Every attorney claims to offer quality legal services, what do you offer that goes beyond this? What type of business entity will your firm form?
- Who Are My Clients?
Will your clients fit a certain demographic category? Where are they located? What do they need? What aspect of your representation will have the greatest value to your clients?
- What Is the Desired Makeup of My Firm?
Who will you hire as staff? Will you hire other attorneys or practice alone?
- Where Will I Practice?
Where will you locate your office? Why? What is my competition?
- When Will I Open for Business?
When will you start? On what basis? Do you have a detailed timeline leading up to this date?
- What Is My Image?
What is the image you want to present? How will you establish this image?
- What Do I Need to Get Started?
How much will it cost? How many months of monthly operating expenses do you have?
- What Is My Monthly Budget?
What are monthly operating costs? What income do you anticipate? How much of this income is tentative?
- How Many Billable Hours Do Need Every Month to Meet Expenses?
How much income do you need each month to pay your bills? How much work will it take to earn this amount?
- What Kind Of Technology Will I Use?
What kind of accounting & bookkeeping system will you use? What other software tools will you use? Will you personally keep the books of the business or hire an accountant? How will you track billable hours?
These are just some of the questions and considerations for drafting a business plan. They act as good starting points for shaping and collecting the details of a business plan.
The California Desert Trial Academy is a progressive law school tailored to meet the needs of anyone who is limited to seeking a legal education at their convenience rather than on a schedule. We emphasize providing an academic experience that emphasizes a practical approach to becoming a lawyer. We believe this is the most efficient and expedient pathway to a successful and rewarding legal career. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.