Starting A Law Firm Checklist UK

The Perfect Marketing Plan/ Checklist For Starting A Law Firm/Solicitors Practice In 12 Months?

starting a law firm or setting up a solicitors practice checklist ukIf you are setting up a law firm, or you have recently started your solicitor’s practice, you are at a distinct advantage to many older law firms. You can find out how to generate clients the right way and put in place automated marketing systems to win new clients to make your life as easy as possible. My staring your own law firm checklist will guide you through the process.

If I was going to be setting up a Law Firm/Solicitors Practice, I know that I could put in place systems in the first 12 months to make sure that I was kept busy with all of the clients that I needed year after year. I know this because I have done this time and time again for solicitors setting up their law firm.

I am Nick Jervis. I was in private practice from 1991 to 2003 and am a solicitor (non-practising). Since 2003 I have been running my marketing consultancy for law firms full time.

I am the author of a book entitled The Law Firm Growth Formula, which is an Amazon bestseller, so I like to think that I know a thing or two about setting up and marketing a law firm.

The Ultimate Guide To Setting Up A New Law Firm – Free Download

If you are in the process of setting up your law firm, make sure you download my comprehensive free guide which includes the following for you:

  • How to start a law firm checklist.
  • How to obtain the right website and avoid paying thousands too much for one that is not fit for purpose (this point is vital – so many solicitors spend tens of thousands on a website that does not make their telephone ring – you do not need to spend thousands).
  • How to remove your compliance headache completely.
  • Go solo or become a consultant? Which is the best option for you?
  • How to ensure you set up the right systems to deliver a steady and consistent flow of new client instructions.

Click the button below to download the guide now:

Free Guide: How To Start And Grow A Solicitors Practice. Click here to download now :>>

If I was going to start a law firm right now, this is what I would do.

“Nick Jervis is the man – especially if you have a law business. I’ve been a convert for nearly 10 months now. It has made a huge difference. I am well on the way to tripling my turnover. Enjoy legals. It works.”

Viv, Petone, New Zealand

Month 1 Starting Your Law Firm

THE most important aspect of a well marketed solicitors practice (or any business) is a client database. If you spend any money at all generating new client enquiries it is vital that from day one you have a system in place to capture the names and addresses of your prospects and clients.

If you think about your prospects, whilst many of them will have an instant need for your services, there are countless others who will be thinking about instructing a solicitor in the near future and researching which one to choose.

Whether they are doing this online or offline, the minute that they make contact with you you have to have a system in place to capture their contact details so that you can follow up with them until they are ready to instruct you.

The database can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, a Google Sheet or email marketing software like the one that I use – Aweber.

All that really matters is that you have a system, you use it and you talk to everyone and anyone that has ever contacted you to give yourself the best chance of winning their instructions.

You must start this now because it will be a crucial part of your ongoing marketing strategy – trust me. If you don’t start it now when you do and you start generating regular instructions you will be frustrated with yourself for not starting sooner.

Add everyone you speak with to this database, whether they become a client or not. Also add old contacts that you want to keep in touch with. If you are using a piece of software like Aweber add them to the database as you speak with them. It is really simple and you will quickly build a large list of contacts.

Website

Once you have the database in place, you can and should start to create your website. This is the first place that anyone will go to look at even if they are recommended to your law firm.

Not having a website in this day and age is simply unacceptable.

However, it comes after the database set up, or any contacts recommended to you will slip through your follow up net.

As for the website, start simple and develop from there. Do not try and make the ‘perfect law firm website’ from day one.

Remember that a website is a living, breathing thing. It is actually never finished, so just get something live as quickly as possible.

My advice is to keep it really simple for starters, and then if you build it with the right system, for which I recommend WordPress, or another content management system which is very easy to use, you can add to it and grow it very easily.

Download my free guide on this page to discover how you can obtain my Website Design Brief document which allows you to simply fill in the blanks to obtain fixed price website quotations for a website that will make your telephone ring.

Free Guide: How To Start And Grow A Solicitors Practice. Click here to download now :>>

I can recommend a company if you would like a tried and tested supplier, just sign up for the free guide on this page and you will receive my recommendation.

The website should feature the following basic pages:

  • Home page.
  • Services page (if you can with at least one page for each service that you provide, but one main page is fine for starters as speed is of the essence now).
  • About page.
  • Free enquiry form (separate from the contact page).
  • Contact.

Prepare a website brief outlining the pages required to ensure that you can obtain a fixed price quotation, and then that the designer sticks to it.

Please remember that most legal website designers have no actual understanding of making a website that will deliver new clients to you, but let me assure you that that is the only purpose of your website, so you need to be in charge of the project, not them.

Read more about Law Firm Website Design:>>

“I have worked with Nick for over a year. As well as being a thoroughly nice person to deal with he is also full of good ideas that work – and which can be implemented without costing the earth.”

David Edwards. Burt, Brill & Cardens

Your Current Marketing For Your Law Firm Start Up

  • Your website is being designed.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database each month whether they become a client or not (so you keep in touch until they need you). I use Aweber.

The Law Firm Success Blueprint

If you are finding this information, you really must download my Law Firm Startup Success Guide and Checklist. Packed with even more useful information and in an easily printable format, it can become your blueprint to success. It even shows you how to find the best website design companies (I do not provide website design services, so it is not my company in case you were wondering…).

Click the image below to download it now.
Starting A Law Firm Marketing Guide

Free Guide – Law Firm Start Up Success :>>

Ready To Take Action And See Results Now?

Please call 0117 290 8555 to arrange a mutually convenient time for a telephone discussion, Email me or complete a Free Online Enquiry. There is no cost or obligation. We will have a chat about where you are and where you would like to be and I will suggest some things you can do to get there quickly.

Month 2 Of Your Law Firm Start Up

Other Solicitors.

Now that you have a database and your legal website is on its way, you need to generate some more enquiries for your services.

How can you do this without spending a fortune?

The good news is that it is actually very easy, as long as you are prepared to put in a little bit of leg work.

Most solicitors specialise these days in one way, shape or form. If you are a niche law firm, whether corporate legal services or individual legal services, there will be other firms who do not offer the same services that you provide but who do already have your perfect clients ready and waiting for you.

You just need to ask them.

Obtaining referrals from other solicitors is the fastest, cheapest method for winning new instructions relatively easily and very cheaply, and the approach is a very straightforward, open one.

Here it is:

  • Find a local firm that does not offer the services that you provide;
  • Call them and introduce yourself as a new firm local to them and you are just calling to say hello:
  • If it sounds a good fit, ask to take the solicitor for a coffee;
  • Ask for referrals;
  • When you receive them, record them on a spreadsheet so that you can see just how much work comes your way;
  • For every referral you receive from this firm, make sure you thank the solicitor;
  • Ensure you send something of value to the solicitor, such as flowers, wine, hampers etc. You will be surprised how many more referrals ‘thank you gifts’ will generate for you; and
  • Rinse and repeath the process with other local law firms.

Simple. Effective.

Progress Your Website

Also in this month you should have agreed the design of your law firm website and it should be close to completion. Get it live as quickly as you can.

Send Your First Email Newsletter

Send your first email newsletter to your database. Whether you have 5 people on it, 10 or 1,000, you need to get into good habits early on in your practice development. Otherwise, the minute you become busy you will stop marketing and then soon be riding the marketing rollercoaster which really is no fun to ride.

Your Current Marketing

  • Your website is being designed.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database each month whether they become a client or not (so you keep in touch until they need you). I use Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your first email newsletter to your database.

Month 3 Of Starting Your New Law Firm

It is time to ensure your website is live now.

As I mentioned above, even if your clients hear about you by recommendation, the first thing the majority of them will do is to look at your website to find out more about you.

Your website must be client focused and explain how you are going to help your clients with their legal problems/matters better than the competition. It needs to talk about features and not benefits, i.e. explain how your expertise will benefit your clients.

The content on your legal website has to be all about your clients. Most solicitors do not understand this and will explain how they have been “In Private Practice since 1853” but this approach does not work. You have to explain why your features matter to your clients.

It is quite easy to change a feature into a benefit by using a simple three word phrase:

this means that

For example, “We were formed in 1838 – this means that – we have nearly 200 years’ experience of helping people just like you to overcome the legal obstacle that you are now facing.

The other point to remember about your law firm website is that you should only have OPPP – One Purpose Per Page.

For each page on your website try and achieve only one objective; this could be to obtain your clients name and email address, or to impart more information by clicking a link at the end of the page, or to complete your enquiry form. Too many websites try and achieve too many results.

Keep the focus on each page to one simple action that you would like the client to take once they have finished reading it. Nine times out of ten this will be advising your client to take action and contact you now.

Once it is live, use it as another excuse to contact your database.

Your Current Marketing

  • Your website is live!
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.
  • Send an extra email announcing the launch of your website.

Month 4

Attract More People To Your Website

Now that you have a client focused website you need to generate some visitors to your website as quickly as possible. This is where our friends at Google can help your business. Pay Per Click advertising sends targeted visitors looking for your services to your website at the exact time that they are ready to buy.

…sends targeted visitors looking for your services to your website at the exact time that they are ready to buy.

I put that in twice because it is so powerful. Read that again and again, as it summarises why Pay Per Click (PPC) is incredibly effective and should be an important part of your marketing communications.

Google Adwords (PPC) advertisements appear either in the top four positions of Google’s search results or in the bottom three positions after the organic results.

So frequently solicitors explain to me that they will not use Google Adwords because ‘they never click on them’.

This mistake is great news for your competitors if you believe this to be true because it means that they are currently cleaning up while you miss potential new client after potential new client.

This is one of the biggest mistakes that solicitors make; believing that their clients are exactly the same as they are.

If this is your opinion I have proof that you are wrong:

$16 Billion per quarter.

This figure is Google’s profits (roughly). The majority of them come from Google Adwords advertising.

A company cannot make this much profit if the service that they provide does not give value to their clients.

For more on Google Adwords see my free guide here: //www.samsonconsulting.co.uk/marketing-help-for-solicitors/google-adwords-masterclass/

Your Current Marketing

  • Start Google Adwords marketing
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 5

Once you have a website that is now attracting visitors you need to ensure that the content remains fresh. This works for your human visitors but it also works for Google. Both groups like to see that your website is a living, breathing and growing legal resource.

Make a plan to add at least one article a month (preferably more but start with one). You will find that once you make this a habit it becomes easier and easier. The days when you could have a static website that never changes are well and truly gone. You need to confirm your expertise by writing articles about your legal services, proving that you are an expert and expanding your reach online.

If you do not want to do this you can easily outsource the task to a copywriter – just email me if you would like an introduction.

Your Current Marketing

  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 6

Now that you are adding these articles regularly, you need to make more use of them and make more use of your database that you set up in month one.

I am a big fan of using your marketing materials in as many ways as possible.

Therefore, you already know that each article can form the basis of an email marketing newsletter to your clients and prospects to remind them that you are there.

However, it can also form the basis of a Press Releases if it is a particularly topical issue, to be sent to your local papers or niche publications.

Entice the paper by giving them most of the story but leaving some questions unanswered. Your objective is to make the reporter pick up the telephone to speak with you about the Press Release. Free press coverage is an excellent way of generating leads for your practice.

An additional benefit is that it is an excellent ‘conversion tool’ on your website. When potential clients see that you are widely quoted on the media it improves the prospects of them contacting you dramatically.

Your Current Marketing

  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 7

You should now have a viable business, but to keep it that way and to grow it you need to start keeping and checking your monthly KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators.

It has always surprised me that most solicitors focus on the wrong KPI’s.

Every law firm that I worked for only ever asked me for one KPI each month – “how much have you billed Jervis?”

Fortunately for me, I had my own KPI’s. I never much fancied not hitting my billing targets, so I worked out that if I opened X files each month because my monthly target was Z as long as I completed Y chargeable hours each month the billing would take care of itself, and it always did.

So how much do you want to bill each month?

Once you know that, how much is your average bill and how many files will you need to close to hit that target?

Work this back, along with the average duration for each matter, and you will know how many new clients you must take on each month.

Other good KPI’s to track each month then also include:

  • Total visitors to your website
  • Total enquiries from your website
  • Your conversion figure – enquiries divided by visitors x 100. My best clients have a figure over 10%, most solicitors are under 1%. Where are you?
  • The number of emails sent to your database
  • Enquiries generated from those emails
  • Any other relevant marketing KPI’s for your law firm

Smart lawyers know their KPI’s. The rest are still in training at running a law firm.

Your Current Marketing

  • Review your KPI’s
  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 8

Let’s try something simple this month.

Change your email signature to promote one of your services. This is one of the simplest yet most effective strategies to use. Be as blatant as you can in your promotion – you need your email recipients to notice your P.S.

Your Current Marketing

  • Add a P.S. to your email signature promoting your services.
  • Review your KPI’s
  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 9

You need to have a full range of promotional materials to ensure that all of your clients know the many different ways that you can help them. One brochure is a bare minimum starting point. In addition to this you should also have postcards, client welcome packs, postcards and mini legal guides. When your clients enter your premises, or receive written communications from you, they should be sent other information about your range of services. After all, you are paying for the postage already so you really should make the most of it.

Your Current Marketing

  • If budget now permits, obtain some printed promotional materials. Start small with something like LawKits then work your way up to a full range.
  • Change your P.S. email signature.
  • Review your KPI’s
  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 10

If your Google Adwords is working, can you increase your budget? Most solicitors struggle with this concept, but if it is working and producing new clients you should keep spending more if you have the funds available. Otherwise you might find that your advertising on Google is only being displayed for parts of the day and then stopping once your daily budget runs out.

Your Current Marketing

  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance and increase your budget – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Change your P.S. email signature.
  • Review your KPI’s
  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 11

If you still have more want to grow, consider the following marketing activities:

  • Newspaper/niche publication advertising.
  • Attend a relevant exhibition.
  • Attend networking events.

Your Current Marketing

  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance and increase your budget – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Consider other marketing activities.
  • Change your P.S. email signature.
  • Review your KPI’s
  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

Month 12

Use video to communicate with new and existing clients.

Solicitors are still often viewed as difficult to approach.

Show that you are not by making short, simple, friendly videos about different areas of law. Post these on your website, on YouTube and email links out to your clients to welcome them to your practice. Google purchased YouTube because it understands the huge power of video media. It is putting more and more video search results in its main search engine. Are you making the most of this opportunity before your competitors do?

  • Test video marketing
  • Every month review KPI’s to check all marketing is working so that it if stops or slows down you can fix it quickly.
  • Add new, automated marketing methods as and when required.
  • Review your Google Adwords campaign performance and increase your budget – Google Adwords Masterclass For Solicitors to see how.
  • Consider other marketing activities.
  • Change your P.S. email signature.
  • Review your KPI’s
  • Add at least one article a month to your website; preferably one each week.
  • Submit good and topical issues to your local media.
  • If you are quoted in the press, make sure you add the coverage to your website. Do not send the visitors off to the media website, just include their logo, add a link to a page on your website and then explain the coverage received.
  • Add every new enquiry to your database. Aweber.
  • Contact new solicitors who can refer clients to you (set a target – one a week?).
  • Record and Reward! Record any referrals received and reward solicitors for any referrals received.
  • Send your next email newsletter to your database.

When You Set Up Your Law Firm Use Leverage!

Notice how a lot of what I say allows you to do one marketing activity once and use it several times (marketing leverage – I love it). For instance, adding content to your website, turning that content into an article, using it in your email marketing and then also using it for PR.

Leverage should be applied to all of your marketing activities. Do it once, use it as many times as possible. In a small practice it is vital that you do this as you only have so much time to spend on marketing.

This article is written for a start up law firm but applies equally to existing law firms, most of which will not be undertaking half of these activities.

Why not make the next 12 months the year that you finally put in place automated marketing practices to really grow your law firm; start up or otherwise.

Starting A Law Firm Checklist UK

Starting A Law Firm Checklist UKIf you are setting up a law firm, or you have recently started your law firm, I urge you to download my 21 Point Starting A Law Firm Checklist.

This will provide you with help and advice showing you how to start your law firm and generate your first client instructions.

Simply click the button below to instantly receive my free guide.

Click Here to Download Now

Ready To Take Action And See Results Now?

Please call 0117 290 8555 to arrange a mutually convenient time for a telephone discussion, Email me or complete a Free Online Enquiry. There is no cost or obligation. We will have a chat about where you are and where you would like to be and I will suggest some things you can do to get there quickly.

FREE BOOK: How To Get New Clients For A Law Firm. Click to download now:>>

Law Firm Marketing