While it is true that starting a personal injury law practice is difficult because it requires you hard work and a lot of expenses, such situation can be minimized through a business plan. Linda Pinson, author of the book Anatomy Of A Business Plan cites the following reasons why you need a business plan in setting up an office:
1. To serve as guide – A business plan is your blueprint in confronting the realities related with starting your personal injury law office. It also gives you a clear idea of your goals and objectives, potentials, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. It will guide you with the tools to analyze and implement changes that will make your personal injury law practice profitable.
2. As documentation for financing – Capital is very essential in starting up a personal injury law office, through business plan details you will able to forecast how much you will invest to further the practice’ goals and increase it’s profits.
The book Flying Solo by K. William Gibson and Redi F. Trautz says that “every firm – large and small – should think strategically about its goals and objectives.” If you plan to go solo in your personal injury practice, “going through the process of developing a business plan requires a great deal of strategic thinking on your part.” Your business plan should be based on your particular needs and the needs of your practice. An apprenticeship in a personal law firm will give you an overview of the issues, payroll, marketing, case management and billing required in your practice.
An effective business plan is an organic document. You should always have it ready in your computer and change it whenever necessary. As you progress in your practice, you will find that your business plan becomes more refined. If in case you notice that you cannot keep up with your business plan, ask yourself: is the plan unrealistic or you are just not interested in doing what needs to be done?
K. William Gibson specifies the following elements comprising a good business plan:
1. A description of the kinds of services you intend to offer
2. A statement of the location (s) where you plan to offer your services
3. A description of your target market
4. A projection of anticipated revenue and operating expenses
5. A statement of personal resources that you intend to commit financing the personal injury law practice.
6. Statements detailing your personal worth – assets and liabilities.
In addition, you need to seek guidance before drafting your business plan from the following:
1. Certified Public Accountant – You might consider loaning a capital to start your law practice, the involvement of an accountant gives your business plan immediate credibility with potential lenders. Your CPA will make sure that your business plan is in proper form and makes sense. He or she will also tell you exactly what you need to do to comply with the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service and other government entities.
2. Bar Association Practice Management Advisors – Practice advisors are usually former practicing lawyers or law office administrators that had experienced everything you are about to step into.
3. Established Personal Injury Lawyers – Mentoring from experienced personal injury lawyers will be essential in forecasting the potential out-of-pocket costs involved in personal injury cases. An experienced lawyer might even share with you the names of vendors and experts with whom you can work in the future.