This is the first article in the “Creating a Law Firm From a Blank Sheet of Paper” series, and it’s perhaps the most fundamental. Before you start ordering computers and letter head, think hard about what sort of law firm you want to create.
How many lawyers take time to think about exactly what kind of law firm they want to work in, and then set out to create that firm? Very few I suspect.
It’s a very personal question. It touches on the fundamental reason of why you became a lawyer in the first place. I dare say it’s different for each of us. But it is the key question to ask when creating your law firm.
If you became a lawyer because of the legal profession’s role in fighting for individual rights, then you probably don’t want to create a large commercial law firm acting primarily for large corporations. If you became a lawyer because you are interested in the process of starting and growing business, which create wealth, opportunity and employment, you might not want to create a niche criminal defence practice.
Trivial examples I know, but they illustrate the importance of the question.
But it goes beyond these trivial examples, to encompass all aspects of your firm. Do you want to have partner’s meetings in a lecture theatre, or do you want all your partners to fit round a board room table? Do you want to practice in a very specialised area of the law, perhaps in a specific sector, or do you want to act for a wide variety of people, helping them with more general legal problems?
The point is – spend time thinking about what sort of lawyer you want to be, and what sort of firm you want to create. These decisions will (and should) have a significant impact on how you create your firm.
The next question is – “who do I want to act for”.