There are plenty of job opportunities for lawyers out there, if you don’t mind abiding by company rules and working long hours with whatever clients are assigned to you. But if you want the flexibility of managing your own schedule and working from anywhere, with clients of your own choosing, then starting your own law firm may be a great direction for you to take.
The idea of opening your own firm may seem daunting, but opening a law firm in New York is easier than you may think. Just follow these six simple steps:
1. Establish a Professional Business Entity: This is the first step for any new business. Since yours is a professional company, you are not eligible to form a simple LLC. Instead, you should choose a PLLC (Professional Service Limited Liability Company), a PC (Professional Service Corporation), or an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership). You should file your new company with the New York Department of State and pay the appropriate fees.
2. Select a Name for Your Firm: The State of New York has Rules of Professional Conduct that you must follow in naming your firm. You should run a name clearance search to make sure the name is available and not already in use, and that it complies with ethics requirements.
3. Get an EIN: In order to conduct business and pay taxes, you must get an Employee Identification Number from the IRS.
4. Open Your Firm’s Bank Accounts: Once you have your EIN, you should open your business bank accounts. In addition to a regular business account, New York law requires law firms to open an IOLA account, a mandatory interest-bearing account for client funds held in escrow. The state uses interest from IOLA to assist in the defense of indigent clients.
5. Purchase Malpractice Insurance: There are a number of insurance companies that provide malpractice insurance in your area of law. A simple online search can help you weed through your options.
6. Set Up Your Business Systems: These include record-keeping, appointments, filing systems and all the little details that help your business run smoothly. There are a variety of software packages on the market for legal service companies, to make business management easier.
7. Create a Marketing Strategy: Decide who your target market is and how to approach them. You may decide to use social media, add a blog to your website, or use traditional advertising approaches. A multi-modal approach is recommended to maximize your outreach.
Open Your Law Firm in New York State
Opening your own law firm in New York State is a great move for any attorney with an entrepreneurial spirit. At Windsor Corporate Services, we are here to assist you. Our ready-made packages make it easy to get things started online. We take out the guesswork of getting established, so you can concentrate on finding clients and building a solid reputation for your new enterprise.