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Administrative and Operational Concerns for Startup Law Firms

When setting out on your own and creating your startup law firm, there seems to be an infinite number of administrative questions that need to be answered: where are you going to have an office? Are you even going to have an office, or is a home-office a better set-up for your practice? How will you set up the phones? How much does malpractice insurance cost and what provider should you choose? The list goes on and on because there is a plethora of administrative tasks you will now have to undertake to keep your business going.

You become your own billing clerk, receivables clerk, payables clerk, office manager, bookkeeper and payroll clerk, just to mention a few.With the advantages of being your own boss comes the responsibility for the entire operation and addressing the administrative concerns. Realistically, you should plan on around 800 hours of administrative work per year if you are a sole proprietor with no secretary. You may be able to cut that number down to about 300 hours if you hire a full-time secretary.

In addition to that, you will have to spend additional time engaged in marketing your startup law firm. One way to manage this is to create a website for your startup law firm and utilize Search Engine Optimization and other internet marketing techniques to advertise your law firm for you. Otherwise, you will need to spend more time on the telephone taking non-billable calls (you can estimate a total of 300 to 500 hours per year on this).

Taking all this into account, for most sole practitioners a good monthly goal is 100 billable hours, or 1200 billable hours per year. When planning your revenues and expenses, it is essential to keep this in mind. Finding the balance between startup and operational expenses and producing revenue in the first year is key to your success as a startup.