Opening a Practice
Be cautious about accepting new matters until you lay the foundation for your new practice. This foundation means setting goals, obtaining business licenses, obtaining services, obtaining technology resources, learning software, and setting up workflow systems.
LOMAP is now pleased to offer a Business Plan Template in an editable PDF format. Use this template to get your business ideas down on paper and in a format you can present to potential investors.
Our Firm Launch Guide includes information about establishing a law practice. Links may be found to the left.
We also offer the Law Office in a Box® for $50, which contains many useful forms and examples.
Go to myWSBA to update your contact information in the public Lawyer Directory.
Accepting fees for your services means that you must acquire a business license for Washington and for the municipality where your practice is located and/or conducts business. Contact your municipality.
Business License – Washington
Business License – Seattle
Business License – Spokane
Business License – Bellevue
Business License – Vancouver
Banks often ask for your Federal Employer Identification Nmber (EIN) EIN Application before you can open a business account or a trust (IOLTA) account. Do you need a trust account? To find out, see IOLTA and Client Trust Accounts.
Office Space — You can delay deciding about office space. If you choose an office setting, there are alternatives such as executive suites for full-time or part-time use, sub-rentals in law firms, and traditional lease arrangements.
Executive Suite Example 1
Executive Suite Example 2
Business Plan — Think about your goals and develop a plan. Examples are practice area, location, services, fee arrangements, budgets, financial resources, business development, and staffing.
Resources from the SBA
Getting Started Resources
Practice Area — Your practice area determines type of client, travel, interruptions, telephone usage, size of the file, and so forth. Choose a practice area that plays to your strengths.
Article — "Choosing a Practice Area"
Talk to Your Peers
Article — "Where the Work Is"
Technology — Use business-grade equipment. Have a solid and redundant backup system. Above all, devote the time necessary to learn how to use it all. Technology can assist with doing the work, managing the work, and turing the work into your fees. The "cloud" (Internet, Web) is another option, but choose a cloud vendor carefully. See technology vendor links.
ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
Insurance — Professional liability insurance is not required in Washington. We recommend that you have such insurance coverage. Consider other insurance coverages in addition.
A free template to develop your business.
Resources for Starting a Law Practice
Information on Scheduling a Consultation and Fees
© 2014 Washington State Bar Association, all rights reserved.