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Starting a Law Firm: Never a Dumb Question

By Edward Poll

The following is an excerpt from the MyCase e-book “Starting a Law Firm: Never a Dumb Question” by Edward Poll.

“There is no such thing as a dumb question.” This has been the commonly repeated mantra of teachers everywhere. This sentiment is true in the legal context, too, when starting a law firm. In fact, you are encouraged to ask as many questions of yourself as you can think of to make sure that your business is successful.

starting-coverStarting a law firm from scratch can seem like an overwhelming task and it’s often difficult to know where to start. To help you in this endeavor, here is a sampling of questions that you might ask yourself about various aspects of starting a law firm.

Practice Considerations

Before you do anything else, you will need to decide what type of practice you will have. Of course, your choices will not be unlimited; you will be restricted by your specialties and interests. Still, you will undoubtedly have some options.

  • Do I want a local, state, national, or international practice?
  • Do I want to focus on estates and trusts, immigration, family law, or some other type of practice?
  • Do I want a large practice or a small practice?

Firm Makeup

You will want to consider how many employees of each type you would like to have.

  • How many partners/shareholders do I want in my firm?
  • How many associate lawyers do I want in my firm?
  • How many of counsel do I want in my firm?
  • How many paralegals do I want to employ?
  • How many secretaries do I want to employ?
  • How many administrative staff members do I want to employ?
  • How many IT and other staff do I want to employ?
  • You will also want to consider the structure of your business.
  • Am I interested in creating a professional corporation?
  • Am I interested in creating a partnership?
  • Am I interested in creating a limited liability corporation?
  • Am I interested in creating a sole proprietorship?


After determining your firm makeup, you will need to think about hiring concerns and considerations that stem from your position as employer.

  • What qualities am I looking for in my employees?
  • What skills am I looking for in my employees?
  • What do I need to know about equal employment opportunity legislation?


Every good practice begins with planning, and the planning process itself takes some planning. Ask yourself the following questions to help in this process:

  • Who should be involved in the planning process?
  • Should staff be included? What about confidentiality?
  • How do I get all the partners to buy into the planning process?
  • Where should I plan?
  • What information do I need to gather in order to plan effectively?

The above list of questions is a mere sampling of the things you should consider. The more questions you ask, the more successful your venture is likely to be. And remember: There is no such thing as a dumb question.

To learn other important questions you’ll need answers to when starting a law firm, make sure you check out the full (and free) MyCase eBook, “Starting a Law Firm: Never a Dumb Question.

About the Sponsor

MyCase is the premier web-based legal case and practice management software designed for solo and small firms. Get the advantage of a complete and affordable solution that will take care of your contacts, calendaring, cases and matters, documents, time tracking, billing and much more.




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