Finance Corner: A Guide for Plaintiffs' Attorneys and their Clients 

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Building Your Firm: Blog Post #1

Tips on How to Go Out on Your Own

Change_ChanceEver consider starting your own firm? Maybe it was your plan all along to gain some experience then go solo but now you’re unsure how to make the transition. Or maybe it wasn’t your plan, but are curious as to how others made the leap.

At Counsel Financial, many of our clients have come to us with plans to start their own practice. Here are 7 lessons we’ve learned from attorneys about their journey:

1. Know what you have

A detailed case list will go a long way in helping you identify your case values and project the timing of when fees will be disbursed. Look for any patterns in types of cases, as this may help uncover a passion, or where your peers see your strong suit to be, prompting them to send cases your way.

2. Identify your niche

What types of case do you want to focus on? Personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, etc.

3. Determine how you’ll secure new clients

How will you pursue cases? Advertising, referrals or both? Most states allow for attorneys to send direct mail to the client to help them choose, however the regulations become a little “grayer” in the mass tort world.

4. Set a budget

What will you need to operate? Office space? Paralegals? Will you use a case management system? A billing solution? Consider even the minute details, like office equipment such as computers, printers, a phone system—adequate and careful planning will ease the burden in the long-run.

5. Decide how you’ll fund the venture

Now that you know your budget, your next question is probably, “how am I going to pay for it?!”

Some folks informally lend the money to themselves, which has several implications. One implication is that it can potentially triggering phantom income with the IRS, sacrificing the time value of money or foregoing the investment potential of those funds.

Others may choose to open a line of credit at the bank. This may be the easiest way to access funds, but may not align with the lifecycle of your cases causing pressure mid-case or might not provide access to enough capital to fund your venture completely.

Another option is a specialized funding company like Counsel Financial that has loaned over $1.5 billion to the plaintiffs’ bar. Our capital is under our direct management, meaning we can work with you to tailor the resources to your unique needs while also potentially offering greater access to funds than other lenders can provide.

6. Leverage your network

Your mentors, colleagues, friends and even family members are front-line resources that can direct business your way. They may also provide a place to bounce ideas around, sound advice or “listening ears” as you embark on your new venture.

7. Do it amicably

We’ve seen folks “break bread” so-to-say with their former firms. An honest, transparent process can lead to a great ongoing relationship with your contacts going forward.

While the process can be difficult, we’ve seen it be rewarding for firms who have grown their practices significantly.

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If any of this strikes a cord, give us a call. We’d love to have a conversation on how we can help. Not only can we provide funding for your firm’s initiatives, we can also assist in the process of meeting your goals.

“Meeting with Counsel Financial was a great experience because they had financial and accounting experts who reviewed our case inventory, projected financials and financial needs.

They helped us plan accordingly to meet our capital needs. Thanks to Counsel Financial, our firm is now a success. We have offices in two states, many attorneys, and we’re active in securities class actions across the country.”

-Maya Saxena, Esq., Saxena White P.A.

Categories: Building Your Firm

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