Whether you are in business for yourself or part of a bigger firm, you need to look at your practice as if it were your own business – certainly if you’re a partner it is, and as an associate it’s not too early to treat it as such.

Accordingly, since lawyers are in the consulting business (see an earlier post), the article on RainToday.com by Ruth Winett of Winett Associates which advised consultants on ten important things to know in starting a professional services business applies equally to law firms:

  1. Learn the business side of law – ask other lawyers, and read the myriad of books and articles available on the subject;
  2. Develop a business/personal development plan, and implement it;
  3. Focus on a niche, as you can’t be a generalist in today’s complex legal world;
  4. Build your brand – what sets you apart from everyone else. Believe it and convey it in all your messages;
  5. Create your message, and utilize as many tools as possible to communicate it and be visible;
  6. Develop and implement a marketing plan that involves working with your contacts and referral sources;
  7. Join professional/trade associations that your ideal clients are involved in;
  8. Invest in technology;
  9. Develop a strong support team and a coach (whether internally or externally); and
  10. Make sure your economic goals are realistic and attainable.

Whether you are a solo or an owner (or hope to be) in a larger firm, these tips can help you focus on the business aspects of professional services.