In the April 2021 edition of The ABA Journal, leading attorneys, legal professionals, marketers and consultants shared their 50 best law firm start-up tips. Gerben Perrott, PLLC founder Josh Gerben is featured a number of times throughout the list. Josh launched the law firm in 2008 and a podcast in 2019 (The Josh Gerben Show) which details his experience in growing and running a law firm.
Josh Gerben shares his tips for docketing, liability protection, malpractice insurance, accepting payment and choosing a name:
“30. Implement a docketing system. You need to have a way of keeping track of cases. You should think about this in advance. Are you going to use a calendaring system? An off-the-shelf program that’s being offered to legal professionals? Do your research and get it in place before you open so when you start accepting matters or cases, they go right into your docketing software so you never risk missing deadlines or client notifications.”
“35. You have to have a corporate entity for liability protection—in most cases, you’ll use a limited liability company, or in some states they’ll be called professional limited liability companies. You’ll likely want to be an S corporation, which is a tax designation that allows for pass-through taxation on your income. Talk to your accountant if you need to set up as an S corp.”
“36. Get your malpractice insurance in place—and general liability coverage that you’d normally have for a business. Malpractice insurance is an absolute must in today’s world. Get it in place. It’ll be expensive and painful, but you have to have it. There are plenty of carriers out there. Talk to an insurance broker about what other types of coverage you should get.”
“37. You must accept credit cards—getting paid faster and easier is going to be critical. You don’t want to have accounts receivable as an attorney. That means you’re waiting on that money to come in—when you’re a small firm, oftentimes you can’t wait for it. When you’re just starting out, the quicker you get paid, the better. Some people don’t like credit cards because it costs 2%-3% off the top. In the vast majority of our engagements, we require payment upfront to begin work or a retainer. It’s easy to get people to give us their number right off the bat, or they use our secure online portal. I use Authorize.net.”
“39. I used a more traditional name when I started because I wanted clients to know that we were a real law firm because we were mostly going to be advertising online to obtain clients. In the last 10 years, there’s been a shift toward using names of firms that are not just the last names of the partners. You can build a brand into a firm, and it’s not reliant on everybody sticking around.”
Source: Li, Victor. ABAJournal.com. “50 startup tips to get your practice off the ground”. 01 April 2021.