How Much Does it Cost to Open a Solo Law Firm?

by Alexa Drago on December 19, 2014

By Guest Blogger,Melanie Fischer

Want to know how much it will cost to open a solo law firm? Well, how much do you have?

It’s impossible to say with certainty how much, to the dollar, it will cost to open a solo law practice. The reason this question can’t be easily answered is that the total cost depends on several factors. Your actual cost might be lower than another solo attorney’s cost. In fact, your cost might be significantly different than another solo attorney who has the same amount of experience, practices the same area of law, and operates in the same geographic area.

When it comes to the total cost associated with opening a solo law practice, there are several expenses that are necessary. And there are also expenses that are optional. Additionally, it’s important to note that both necessary and optional items can result in drastic cost differentials. Essentially, the total cost to start your own law firm can fall within a broad monetary range. In the end, you will have control on how much you spend on certain expenses, and you will not have control of others.

Where will you locate your solo law firm? Because you will be in business for yourself, you have control where you locate your business. Do you want to sign a lease on an expensive office space in a ritzy downtown building? Or, are you willing to settle for a Class B or Class C building in exchange for lower monthly rent payments? Are you willing to share an office with another solo attorney or other professional? You may ultimately decide that you want to run your solo law practice out of your home. The decision on where to run your business will greatly affect your operating cost.

Will you have to spend money on a computer and other office equipment? If you were previously employed by a law firm, did the firm provide you with a top-notch computer, cell phone and necessary technology? If so, you must prepare for the fact that your solo law firm will have to pay for such items going forward.

What is your advertising and marketing budget? If you want your solo law firm to succeed and prosper, you will have to alert the public that you are open for business. This will require you to spend money on advertising and marketing. This may include spending money on website development and a social media campaign. However, your advertising and marketing budget should be limited to the amount you want to spend. It’s absolutely possible to spend $50,000 per month on advertising and marketing, but it’s also possible to limit your budget to a few hundred dollars per month. The choice is up to you.

Who will maintain your law license, pay for your enrollment in CLE classes, uphold your membership in local bar associations, and pay for professional liability/malpractice insurance? As a solo attorney, you will have to pay for your law license and everything that goes along with maintaining it. If you previously worked for another law firm, that firm may have paid for all of these items on your behalf. Now that you will be on your own, these financial responsibilities will be yours.

Will you hire a legal assistant, paralegal or virtual receptionist? When you open a solo law firm, you may have every intention of running the entire operation on your own. This is, without a doubt, the most cost-efficient way to run your business. You may be able to function as a solo attorney without personnel for many months or years, and you might choose to postpone hiring a staff until your firm is earning substantial income.

Other costs? There are certainly other costs associated with opening a solo law firm. Therefore, it’s important to set money aside for these incidentals.

As you can see, there are numerous factors that contribute to how much it will cost to open a solo law firm. You can choose to spend a minimal amount, or you can choose to spend quite a bit. As the owner of your solo law firm, these decisions are up to you; however, it’s important to realize that opening a solo law practice does not have to break the bank. There are many ways to minimize your operating costs so that your dream of opening your own law practice can be a reality – at least from a financial perspective.




Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: