Deciding to expand your law firm by adding a new location is a big decision—one that you’ll want to take seriously. Opening a new office and the investment to do so can make or break your business.
Here are 4 things to consider before you make the decision to expand:
- Due diligence
Before making the leap into a new market, think about conducting comprehensive market research. You’ll want to fully understand the area in which you’re entering in order to be confident that the expansion will be worth your time, effort and resources.
Consider the legal environment—are there many established local firms practicing in the same area of law as you? How do you plan to differentiate your firm and gain new business? Is the jurisdiction favorable?
If you find that the market where you plan to open your new location is already saturated with firms similar to yours, or the statutes, laws or court rulings aren’t beneficial to your particular practice area, then you may want to return to the drawing board and map out a different path.
Like any business, building a solid team in a legal practice is a key to its success. Your attorneys and support staff are the heart of your firm. When deciding to expand your business into a new location, it’s crucial that you have the right support staff-- in your home office to help you successfully set up the new office in your new location. Despite having multiple brick-and-mortars, you’re still operating one law firm. All locations and teams need to work as one unified team toward a common goal. Having synergy among employees and locations is crucial to establishing a unified brand.
One of the most important and practical elements to establishing a new location is determining whether you have enough money to sustain new operations.
As the age-old saying goes, it takes money to make money, so when you’re thinking about what goes into adding a new location, it’s imperative you have a financial plan and budget in place to tackle the new venture. Proper planning is crucial to the success of not only your new office, but your law firm as a whole. You must ensure that you have adequate cash flow to maintain a high-quality level service for your clients. Be sure to explore the financing options available to your firm, and those that are specifically tailored to contingent-fee attorneys. Having a lender that understands what you are taking on can make a significant difference in the outcome of your expansion.
Once you’ve made the final decision to grow your business by entering a new market, you’ll want to be ready to hit the ground running with a solid marketing plan so you can immediately start to establish your firm as the preeminent choice in the area.
Differentiation is yet another key factor to setting your firm apart from the competition. Becoming a top-of-mind choice for clients in your area is achievable with a well-executed marketing campaign. Consider utilizing print and television advertising and/or online and social media presence.
Adding an office can be a great way to increase the reach of your firm. Gaining presence in another market takes time and effort, but the benefits of expanding your infrastructure can be rewarding. With the requisite planning, you can streamline the process and set your firm up for success.