Guide to Opening your Practice for Lawyers - Appendix 4

Developing a Law Firm Business Plan


 

The following worksheet leads you through each of the categories of a basic law practice business plan. Although the practice of law is a profession… law practice is a business. Careful planning increases the opportunity for a successful practice without the unanticipated surprises that cause practices to fail.

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    1. Description of the Law Firm
      [brief summary paragraph]












    2. Firm Goals and Strategy
      [brief statement]








       
    3. Partners and Key Staff
      [brief statement]








       
    4. Practice Areas and Specialties
      [brief statement]








       
    5. Unique Characteristics of the Firm
      [brief statement]








       
    6. Types of Clients to be Served
      [brief statement]









    7. Firm Economics and Profitability
      [brief statement]








       
    8. Financing Requirements
      [brief statement]








       
     
  2. THE MARKET FOR LEGAL SERVICES
    1. The local Economy and the Need for Legal Services
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
    2. The Firm’s Marketing Plan
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
    3. The Firm’s Practice Areas
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
    4. The Firm’s Start-Up and Growth Strategy
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
     
  3. MARKET RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
    1. Current and Potential Clients
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
    2. Market Size and Trends
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
    3. Competition – Other law firms
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
    4. Future Practice Areas
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








       
     
  4. FIRM ECONOMICS
    1. Start-up Expenses
      [detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]
       

      Expense Items

      Estimated Cost

      Cash or Credit

      Source of Cash or Credit

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Total Start-Up Expenses

       

       


    2. Billing Summaries
      [detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]
       

      Projected Revenue

      Per Month

      Per Year

      Hourly Fees

      $

       

      Contingency Fees

      $

       

      Flat Fees

      $

       

      Retainer Fees

      $

       

      Other Fees

      $

       

      Other Revenue

      $

       

       Total Revenue

      $

       


       
    3. Expense Summaries


      Payroll:

      Monthly

      Annual

      Partners

      $

      $

      Associates

      $

      $

      Paralegals

      $

      $

      Law Clerks

      $

      $

      Assistants

      $

      $

      Other Staff

      $

      $

      Sub-total Payroll Expenses

      $

      $

      Taxes and Benefits:

      Monthly

      Annual

      Payroll Taxes

      $

      $

      Insurance

      $

      $

      Parking

      $

      $

      Other

      $

      $

      Sub-total Taxes & Benefits

      $

      $

      Office Expenses:

      Monthly

      Annual

      Advertising

      $

      $

      Bank Charges

      $

      $

      Books

      $

      $

      Other Library Expenses

      $

      $

      Client Development

      $

      $

      Equipment Rental

      $

      $

      Insurance-Gen. Liability

      $

      $

      Insurance-Excess

      $

      $

      Maintenance/Repair

      $

      $

      Office Supplies

      $

      $

      Periodicals

      $

      $

      Professional Fees/Dues

      $

      $

      Rent

      $

      $

      Taxes

      $

      $

      Telephone

      $

      $

      Travel Expenses

      $

      $

      Utilities

      $

      $

      Sub-total Office Expenses

      $

      $

      Total Expenses

      $

      $


    4. Revenue/Net Income per Partner
       

      Partner Name

      Gross Revenue
      (total fees)

      Net Income
      (fees-expenses)

      Partner
      Compensation

       

      $

      $

      $

       

      $

      $

      $

       

      $

      $

      $

       

      $

      $

      $


     
  5. MARKETING PLAN
    1. Overall Marketing Strategy
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








    2. Billing Rates and Alternative Billing Policies
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








    3. Client Service Initiatives
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








    4. Advertising and Solicitation Plan
      [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]








     
  6. FIRM PERSONNEL
     

     

    Name

    Brief Biography


    A.  Partners
     
     

     

     

     

     

     


    B.  
    Associates 
     

     

     

     

     

     


    C.  
    Key Staff 
     

     

     

     

     

     


  7. FIRM PERSONNEL
    1. Income Statements and Balance Sheets

      [detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]

    2. Pro Forma Income Statements

      [detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]

    3. Pro Forma Balance Sheet

      [detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]

    4. Pro Forma Cash Flow Analysis

      [detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]


      Mitchel L. Winick, J.D., Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, Austin, Texas, 1 800-204-2222 ext. 2161, mwinick@airmail.net