How to Keep Your Firm’s Overhead as Low as Possible

by Melanie Fischer on August 18, 2016

moneyCan you run a small law firm on just a few hundred dollars a month? Probably not. But that does not mean you should not try to operate your solo law practice by spending as few dollars per month as possible. When you are restricted to a relatively low operating budget – which many solo or small law firms are – there is no reason to believe that you cannot cut your monthly operating costs by simply being smart about some of the choices you make.

Keep Monthly Expenses Under Control
It’s easy to spend a great deal of money on recurring monthly expenses such as rent, subscriptions, professional liability insurance, and fees for your telephone and internet. While some expenses are unavoidable and/or non-negotiable, plenty of overhead expenses can be kept under tight control—meaning that they can be reduced or eliminated outright.

If you are interested in saving money on your law firm’s overhead, you’re in luck. In today’s modern age, there are several ways to either limit or reduce your monthly overhead expenses and conduct business without breaking the bank.

Following are some ideas that can help reduce your law firm’s overhead:

Consider an at-home office. Even though the idea of running your law firm out of your living room might not seem appealing, an at-home office can save your firm a significant amount of money. Eliminating monthly rent payments on an office can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a month. Remember, you do not have to meet with clients in your home. There are many public areas, such as a local library, where in-person meetings can be held (for free).

Hire help on an as-needed basis. Unless you have enough work to justify hiring a full- or part-time paralegal or legal assistant, consider hiring a contractor on an as-needed basis. That way, when you have slow months you can avoid paying an assistant’s salary when help is not needed. This can save your law firm a significant amount of money each month.

Shop around for all types of insurance. As a solo attorney, you might be in the market for health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, professional liability insurance, and more. There is no reason to think you do not have choices regarding which insurance carrier you select. The cost of any type of insurance can vary greatly from one company to the next. Make sure to spend ample time finding the best possible deal.

Use your cell phone for personal and professional calls – and get rid of your land line. Your cell phone can be used for both personal and professional purposes. It is possible to set up your system so that you do not have to use your personal phone number as your law firm number. Many small law firms no longer utilize a land line – and those firms are probably saving quite a bit of money on phone charges each year.

There are several other ways your law practice can save money. For example, instead of buying new furniture for your office, consider purchasing used (nice, high-quality) furniture instead. Also, apply the old adage: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to the manner in which you run your business. Any time you can reduce, reuse, or recycle, your firm will save funds that can undoubtedly be allocated elsewhere.


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