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Appendix 4 - Developing a Law Firm Business Plan

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.

  • Description of the Law Firm [brief summary paragraph]
  • Firm Goals and Strategy [brief statement]  
  • Partners and Key Staff [brief statement]  
  • Practice Areas and Specialties [brief statement]  
  • Unique Characteristics of the Firm [brief statement]  
  • Types of Clients to be Served [brief statement]
  • Firm Economics and Profitability [brief statement]  
  • Financing Requirements [brief statement]  
  • The local Economy and the Need for Legal Services [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • The Firm’s Marketing Plan [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • The Firm’s Practice Areas [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • The Firm’s Start-Up and Growth Strategy [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • Current and Potential Clients [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • Market Size and Trends [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • Competition – Other law firms [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • Future Practice Areas [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]  
  • Overall Marketing Strategy [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]
  • Billing Rates and Alternative Billing Policies [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]
  • Client Service Initiatives [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]
  • Advertising and Solicitation Plan [detailed analysis – may be additional pages]

[detailed analysis – insert chart or spreadsheet]

  • Sample Business Plans

Law Firm Business Plan

Executive summary image

If you are a lawyer, chances are you have thought of owning a law firm at least once if not more.

After all, having your firm gives you the freedom of taking up projects that you like and working at flexible hours.

But with freedom comes responsibility, and most of us find the thought of doing everything from onboarding clients to taking care of every detail of their case at least in the initial days quite overwhelming.

But don’t worry! It isn’t as scary as it looks. All you need to run a successful law firm is your sharp wit to deal with cases and a well-written law firm business plan to deal with the business side of your profession.

sample business plan

Free Law Firm Business Plan Template

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  • Fill in the blanks – Outline
  • Financial Tables

Industry Overview

The global legal services market was valued at a whopping sum of 849.28 billion dollars in 2020 and is expected to rise at a high rate going forward too.

The main changes in the legal industry have been brought about by the introduction of AI which does proofreading and data research jobs with higher efficiency. This lets the lawyers focus on what really matters.

Also, the security and access systems have become loads better due to cloud computing.

What is Law Firm Business Plan?

A law firm business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and strategies to achieve those goals. It includes your law firm overview, your reason to start your firm, the services you will offer, a budget or funding requirements, and strategies to get and manage your clients.

Why Law Firm Business Plan is Important?

A business plan would help you understand what sets you apart from your competitors, and how you can market your USP to your clients.

It also helps you design strategies to reach out to your clients and manage them. It comes in extremely handy for analyzing the loopholes in your business structure.

Moreover, it helps you identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

All in all, It can make managing your business a hassle-free and less chaotic process.

Things to Consider Before Writing a Law Firm Business Plan

Focus on your expertise.

Between juggling business and practice, it is natural that practice gets neglected more often than not. But always keep in mind that though focusing on your business is important it shouldn’t come at the cost of skills you need to develop and upgrade to do well as a lawyer.

Also, it is important to decide on a niche so you can dig deeper and become an expert at handling cases of that kind.

Create a proper website

In today’s world being present and active on the internet is as important for your business as being good at what you do.

A strong web presence helps you reach out to your customers as well as builds your reliability for them.

Build your network

Networking is an important aspect of being a lawyer. From getting new customers, getting updates on the legal world, and even collecting evidence if you are a criminal lawyer, a good network can work wonders for your legal business.

The kind of circle you belong to also has an impact on your reputation and image as a lawyer.

Develop soft skills

We all know that confidence and intellect are a lawyer’s best friends. And although it is an ongoing process to develop these skills, it is good to get a head start before you start your business.

Intellect helps you upgrade and pay attention to detail, and confidence helps you sound more convincing and reliable. Both of which are foundational to a legal business.

How to Write a Law Firm Business Plan?

A law firm business plan would be a combination of segments common to all business plans and segments specific to a law firm.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new law firm, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of  consulting-related business plans .

Reading some sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for. It will also show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample law firm business plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect law firm business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Chalking out Your Business Plan

Starting your own law firm is an exciting prospect for any lawyer. Having your firm gives you more independence, lets you implement ideas you want to, and most importantly, you get to deal with clients firsthand.

And if you plan on starting your own, do so with a proper business plan.

But you might wonder, why do I need a business plan as a lawyer, isn’t my legal knowledge and years of work enough?

The answer is no.

To run a law firm you need a law degree, but to run a successful business you need a business plan alongside your degree.

Law Firm Business Plan Outline

This is the standard law firm business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • Financial Summary
  • 3 Year profit forecast
  • Business Structure
  • Startup cost
  • Market Analysis
  • Market Trends
  • Target Market
  • Market Segmentation
  • Sales Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Personnel Plan
  • Financial Plan
  • Important Assumptions
  • Brake-even Analysis
  • Profit Yearly
  • Gross Margin Yearly
  • Projected Cash Flow
  • Projected Balance Sheet
  • Business Ratios

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Now, let’s understand how you can complete each section of your business plan.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary forms the first page of your business plan. It acts as a pitch for your business to potential investors and should consist of the following sections.

  • Objective: This gives an overview of what you wish to accomplish with your business. The objective should be clear and solve an existing problem in the market.
  • Vision Statement: This should state what vision you have for your business. How do you want it to function and how far do you expect to reach with it. You can also include how your vision sits with the current market situation.
  • Financial Summary: This section should ideally consist of the history of your finances and their current state. A proper financial summary helps you gain an investor’s confidence and makes it easier for your business to get funded.

2. Company Summary

Next up we have the company summary section, this segment provides an overview of your company’s structure and its functioning.

This section provides a brief description of the following:

  • Legal Structure: This section would describe the legal terms and conditions your firm functions on, as well as the ownership structure of your firm.
  • USP: This would consist of points that set your firm apart from your competitor’s firm.
  • Services: This section will include the services you offer, the legal procedures you are well versed in, all in all, the client base you cater to.
  • Location: This segment covers your area of service and the location of your firm. A clearly stated area of service, helps you reach the right audience.

3. Market analysis

This segment consists of a thorough analysis of the market situation. It can be split up into the following sub-segments.

  • Market Trends: This would consist of all the prevailing trends in the market. It is important to know market trends because it helps your business keep up with the evolving market.
  • Target Market:  This section would consist of a summary of the market you cater to. Clearly defining your niche helps you reach out to your desired customer base.
  • Market Segmentation: In this section, note down the segments present in the market, as well as what segment of the market your business would fit in. This would help you narrow down the number of competitors you have, the strategies you must follow, and the major and additional services you should offer.

4. Strategy and implementations

In this section, you would include various business strategies like:

  • Marketing strategy You can formulate a marketing strategy depending on your target audience and the easiest and most effective ways of reaching out to them. It is important to formulate your marketing strategy based on your USP and your vision statement.
  • Pricing Strategy It is important to formulate a pricing strategy based on the market trends, the nature of the work, and your target audience.
  • Milestones This segment would consist of the various milestones your business would have to reach to achieve your goal and the strategies to help you reach them.

5. Financial Plan

The financial section of your business plan would consist of the following information regarding your business.

  • Financial history
  • Current State of finances
  • Profit and loss

Download a sample law firm business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go;  download our free law firm business plan pdf  to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your law firm business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

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Law Firm Business Plan Summary

All of the above segments would help you in creating a well-rounded business plan. Starting your law firm with a well-written business plan can make your growth process faster and smoother.

After getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this law firm business plan example into your business plan and modify the required information and download your law firm business plan pdf or doc file.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

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About the Author

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Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Download Law Firm Business Plan

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Law Firm Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

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Law Firm Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 1,000 lawyers to create business plans to start and grow their law firms. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a law firm business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is a Law Firm Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your law firm as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Law Firm

If you’re looking to start a law firm, or grow your existing law firm, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your law firm in order to improve your chances of success. Your law firm plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Law Firms

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a law firm are personal savings, credit cards and bank loans. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a law firm.

If you want to start a law firm or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your law firm plan template:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of law firm you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a law firm that you would like to grow, or are you operating law firms in multiple cities?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the law firm industry. Discuss the type of law firm you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of law firm you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of law firms:

  • Commercial Law : this type of law firm focuses on financial matters such as merger and acquisition, raising capital, IPOs, etc.
  • Criminal, Civil Negligence, and Personal Injury Law: this type of business focuses on accidents, malpractice, and criminal defense.
  • Real Estate Law: this type of practice deals with property transactions and property use.
  • Labor Law: this type of firm handles everything related to employment, from pensions/benefits, to contract negotiation.

In addition to explaining the type of law firm you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, number of cases won, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the law firm industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the law firm industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your law firm plan:

  • How big is the law firm industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your law firm? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your law firm plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: businesses, households, and government organizations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of law firm you operate. Clearly, households would respond to different marketing promotions than nonprofit organizations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most law firms primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other law firms.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes accounting firms or human resources companies. You need to mention such competition as well.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other law firms with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be law firms located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What types of cases do they accept?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide better legal advice and services?
  • Will you provide services that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will you provide more responsive customer interactions?
  • Will you offer better pricing or flexible pricing options?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a law firm plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of law firm company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to in-person consultation, will you provide virtual meetings, or any other services?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the products and services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your law firm company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your law firm located in a busy business district, office building, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your law firm marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to local websites
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your law firm, including filling and filing paperwork, researching precedents, appearing in court, meeting with clients, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to file your 100th lawsuit, or be on retainer with 25 business clients, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your law firm to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your law firm’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing law firms. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with legal experience or with a track record of successfully running small businesses.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you file 25 lawsuits per month or sign 5 retainer contracts per month? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your law firm, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a law firm:

  • Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
  • Cost of licensing, software, and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or your certificate of admission to the bar.  

Putting together a business plan for your law firm is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert and know everything you need about starting a law firm business plan; once you create your plan, download it to PDF to show banks and investors. You will really understand the law firm industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful law firm.  

Law Firm Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my law firm business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Law Firm Business Plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of law firm you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a law firm that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of law firms?

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></center></p><ul><li>September 22, 2023</li></ul><h2>How to Write Your Law Firm Business Plan (with Template)</h2><p><center><img style=

Starting a law firm can be a rewarding and lucrative venture, but it requires careful planning and strategy. A well-crafted business plan is a crucial tool for any law firm looking to establish itself, secure funding, or grow its practice. The business plan will serve as a roadmap, outlining the law firm’s objectives, strategies, and unique selling proposition

Law Firm Business Plan - Digitslaw

Why Every Law Firm Needs a Business Plan

A well-structured business plan is imperative for every law firm, regardless of its size or specialization. While legal expertise is undoubtedly crucial, having a clear vision and strategic direction is equally essential. A business plan serves as a guiding light, defining the firm’s mission, values, and long-term goals. This clarity is vital for aligning the entire firm towards a common purpose, ensuring that everyone understands the objectives and the path to achieving them. Without a business plan, a law firm may find itself navigating uncertain waters, reacting to circumstances rather than proactively pursuing its ambitions.

The Key Components of a Law Firm Business Plan

A well-structured law firm business plan consists of several key components, each playing a crucial role in guiding the firm’s operations and ensuring its long-term success. Here are the essential elements of a comprehensive law firm business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Law firm description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Services 
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Financial plan
  • Start-up budget

Section One: Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most critical section of your law firm’s business plan. While it appears at the beginning, it is often written last, as it serves as a concise yet comprehensive overview of your entire plan. This section should capture the reader’s attention, providing them with a clear understanding of your law firm’s essence, mission, and what to expect from the rest of the document. In your executive summary:

  • Introduce your law firm: Briefly describe your law firm’s name, location, and legal specialization.
  • Mission and vision: State your firm’s mission and vision, highlighting your commitment to serving clients’ legal needs effectively.
  • Your unique selling proposition: Clearly state your USP, and present what is unique about your firm that will ensure success.

The executive summary sets the stage for your entire business plan. It should be a concise yet compelling introduction to your firm’s mission, values, and potential. If crafted well, it can grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to explore other sections in detail. If you feel overwhelmed by this, you can write this section last. 

Section Two: Law Firm Description

This section of your business plan provides a deeper dive into your firm’s background, history, legal specializations, and legal structure and ownership. This section should provide a concise yet informative overview of your firm’s identity and history. Here’s what this section should cover:

  • Mission Statement: Briefly reiterate your law firm’s mission statement. This statement should encapsulate your firm’s overarching purpose and guiding principles.
  • Geographic Location: State out the physical location of your law firm’s office(s). This should include the city or region where your primary office is situated.
  • Legal Structure and Ownership: State the legal structure of your law firm, whether it’s an LLC, S-Corp, or another legal entity. This choice is a fundamental aspect of your business model, influencing ownership, liability, and taxation. If your firm’s ownership is not that of a sole proprietorship, provide details on the ownership structure. Explain how the chosen structure aligns with your firm’s business model, decision-making processes, and long-term goals.
  • Firm History: Provide the history of your law firm. Highlight key milestones, achievements, and notable moments in your firm’s journey. If your firm is well-established, briefly summarize its history, showcasing your accomplishments and contributions to the legal field.

Remember that brevity is key in this section. Don’t spend too much time, just touch on important points and achievements. 

Section Three: Market Analysis

A well-conducted market analysis will not only demonstrate your understanding of the legal industry but also inform your law firm’s strategies and decision-making. It goes beyond understanding your competition; it delves deep into your potential clients’ needs and expectations. 

Through market analysis, you can segment your target market based on demographics, industry, legal needs, and preferences. This segmentation allows you to tailor your services to meet the specific needs of different client groups. It also helps you identify the pain points and challenges that potential clients face. By understanding their concerns, you can offer solutions that directly address these pain points.

Your market analysis should also reveal the pricing strategies of your competitors. By benchmarking your pricing against theirs, you can position your services competitively. You can choose to price higher if you offer unique value or lower if you aim to attract price-sensitive clients. Your market analysis should reveal areas where your competitors may be falling short. Use this information to frame your services as the solution to these weaknesses. For example, if competitors have slow response times, emphasize your firm’s commitment to timely communication. 

Showcase your firm’s USPs that directly address client needs and preferences. If you excel in a particular practice area, have a reputation for excellent client service, or offer innovative fee structures, use these strengths to attract your preferred clientele. Ultimately, a well-documented market analysis not only informs your law firm’s business model but also guides your approach to client acquisition, pricing, and service delivery. It ensures that your legal services align with client expectations and positions your firm for success in a competitive legal industry

Section Four: Organization and Management

Law Firm Business Plan

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This section provides a clear picture of your firm’s internal structure and leadership. Name the key stakeholders in your law firm and what they bring to the table. Highlight any unique experiences or expertise that each partner brings to the firm. This could include prior work at prestigious law firms, involvement in landmark cases, or specialized knowledge in a specific area of law. Explain how these experiences set your firm apart and enhance its capabilities. You can also include an organizational chart that visually represents your law firm’s structure. This chart should showcase the hierarchy, roles, and reporting lines within the firm. By including the names, educational backgrounds, unique experiences, and organizational chart, you paint a comprehensive picture of your law firm’s leadership and structure. This not only builds confidence in your team’s capabilities but also showcases the depth and expertise of your staff to potential clients, partners, or investors.

Section Five: Services

This section is the core of your law firm business plan. Here, you will go into detail about all aspects of your services. Present in simple words:

  • The problem(s) your law firm is addressing and your approach to how to alleviate those pain points? Answer these questions, and provide in detail how your firm is in the best position to tackle this problem. 
  • The solution(s) you are providing. This should describe how your law firm resolves your prospective market’s needs. This should include the work you do, and the benefits that each client will receive if they work with your firm. 
  • Your law firm competition.  This should describe what advantages your law firm has over your competitors? What you do differently when providing your solutions and how your clients will gain additional benefits when they work with your law firm.

Section Six: Marketing Strategy

As you craft your business plan, keep these four essential questions in mind:

  • What Is Your Firm’s Value Proposition? Clearly define what sets your law firm apart from others. This should guide your marketing and sales strategies, emphasizing the unique value you offer to clients.
  • Who Is Your Target Audience? Identify your ideal client profile. Understanding your target audience helps tailor your marketing efforts to reach those most likely to benefit from your services.
  • What Are Your Growth Goals? Set specific, measurable growth goals for your firm. These goals should inform your sales and marketing strategies, outlining how you plan to achieve them.
  • How Will You Measure Success? Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your marketing and sales efforts. Whether it’s tracking client acquisition rates, website traffic, or revenue growth, having measurable metrics will help you gauge your progress and make informed adjustments.

It is also valuable to perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to assess your law firm’s internal and external factors. Describe your online marketing efforts, including your website, social media presence, and email marketing campaigns. Explain how you plan to leverage marketing  to reach and engage potential clients effectively. You should also define your pricing structure and fee arrangements. This may include hourly rates for specific legal services, retainer agreements for ongoing representation, or flat fees for standardized services. 

Section Seven: Financial Plan

If you want to expand your law firm and ensure a steady income, it’s essential to create a financial strategy for your practice. While you might not have all the answers regarding your firm’s finances, provide comprehensive details. Your goal should be to establish a financial plan, particularly for the initial year of your firm’s operation.

Law Firm Business Plan - DigitsLaw

Provide comprehensive financial projections that cover the anticipated income, expenses, and cash flow for your law firm. These forecasts should offer a clear picture of how your firm expects to perform financially. You should also Incorporate income statements, which show your firm’s revenue and expenses, balance sheets that detail your assets and liabilities, and cash flow projections, which illustrate how money moves in and out of your business. These financial statements offer a holistic view of your firm’s financial health.

Explain the assumptions underlying your financial projections. This may include factors like growth rates, market trends, client acquisition strategies, and pricing models. Describe your strategies for achieving growth and how they translate into financial outcomes. This section is critical for demonstrating your law firm’s financial preparedness and sustainability. Investors, lenders, or partners will scrutinize these sections to assess the viability of your firm, making it essential to provide detailed and well-supported financial information.

Section Eight: Start-up Budget

When developing a business plan for your law firm, it is essential to create a realistic startup budget. This involves carefully considering various initial and ongoing expenses and factoring them into your revenue objectives. Here are some instances of expenses to incorporate into your budget:

  • Hardware costs, such as laptops, printers, scanners, and office furniture.
  • Office space expenses, whether you plan to rent space or work from home.
  • Malpractice insurance fees.
  • Staff salaries, including potential hires like administrative assistants or paralegals.
  • Utility expenses, covering phone and internet services, among others.
  • Expenses on practice management software or other tech tools

After itemizing these costs, review them thoroughly. Clearly state the total amount of funding you require to start and sustain your law firm. Explain how this funding will be allocated, including how much goes into covering startup costs and how much is reserved for ongoing operations. Be specific about the purpose of each funding component. 

Additionally, explore tools and solutions that can streamline non-billable tasks, freeing up more time for your legal practice. This not only enhances your overall productivity but also allows you to allocate more time to your legal practice. One exceptional solution that can significantly benefit your law firm operations is a legal practice management software. 

DigitsLaw: The Legal Practice Management Software for Law Firms

DigitsLaw is an all-in-one practice management software that streamlines and simplifies the day-to-day operations of a law firm. Whether you are a small firm or you have law firms in major cities, DigitsLaw can meet the unique needs of your legal practice. Our simple and intuitive tool offers a wealth of features that can make a substantial difference in the success and efficiency of your firm.

Here’s how DigitsLaw can help your new law firm scale:

  • Effortless Case Management: DigitsLaw simplifies case management by centralizing all your client information, documents, and communications in one secure location. This ensures that you have easy access to everything you need, right at your fingertips.
  • Time Tracking and Billing: With DigitsLaw, tracking billable hours and generating invoices is seamless. You can accurately record your time, expenses, and activities, allowing for transparent and error-free billing processes.
  • Conflict Check: DigitsLaw provides a robust conflict check system that assists law firms in maintaining ethical standards and preventing conflicts of interest. By incorporating DigitsLaw conflict check capabilities into your law firm’s workflow, you can enhance your due diligence processes, reduce the risk of conflicts of interest, and uphold the highest ethical standards in your legal practice. 
  • Client Collaboration: Foster better client relationships through DigitsLaw’s client portal . Clients can securely access case information, share documents, and communicate with your firm, enhancing transparency and trust.
  • Legal Document Management: Say goodbye to the hassle of paper documents and disorganized files. DigitsLaw enables efficient document storage, organization, and collaboration, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors.
  • Secure and Compliant: DigitsLaw prioritizes security and compliance, ensuring that your client data and sensitive information are protected at the highest standards.

By leveraging DigitsLaw’s capabilities, you can significantly reduce administrative overhead, minimize errors, and provide a more streamlined and responsive experience for your clients. It’s a strategic investment that will pay dividends as your firm grows and prospers.

Sample Business Plan and Fillable Template

If you’re in the early stages of creating your business plan, we’ve prepared an example that can serve as a reference. You can also download a blank version of our template here. Remember to tailor your plan to your specific requirements and objectives. 

Download your copy of our law firm business plan template HERE

Final thoughts.

In conclusion, crafting a law firm business plan is not just a formality; it’s a roadmap that guides your firm toward success. Whether you’re launching a new law firm or seeking to revitalize an existing one, a well-thought-out plan helps you.  From defining your firm’s mission and values to conducting a thorough market analysis every section of your plan plays a crucial role in shaping your law firm’s journey. It’s not just about impressing potential investors; it’s about setting clear goals, making informed decisions, and ensuring that your firm is well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As you start planning, remember that your business plan is a living document. It should evolve and adapt as your firm grows and the legal industry changes. Regularly revisit and update your plan to stay aligned with your mission, serve your clients better, and achieve your long-term vision.

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How to Create a Law Firm Business Plan Aimed at Success

Want a successful law firm? Start with a solid business plan. Our guide covers everything that will help you create a roadmap for success.

A firm exists to serve people—so its business plan must take into account those it aims to help. A law firm's business plan lays out the key pillars that will support a practice, from operational details to marketing strategies to financial projections. Furthermore, it should provide a clear roadmap for where the firm hopes to be in the coming years.

In this blog,  we will guide you through the process  of creating a comprehensive law firm business plan that  will help you achieve your goals . Additionally, in our latest Grow Law Firm podcast, our host Sasha Berson conversed with Omar Ochoa, the founding attorney of Omar Ochoa Law Firm, to discuss the topic of creating a law firm business plan aimed at success. Be sure to listen to another insightful episode featuring Tom Lenfestey, where he discusses crafting a sellable and profitable law firm.

Why Is a Business Plan Important for Law Firms?

A business plan is a vital tool for any law firm to achieve success. It outlines goals, strategies, and the feasibility of business ideas, providing a clear direction and focus for the firm. The plan can be used to secure funding from investors or financial institutions by demonstrating the potential for growth and profitability.

Benefits of a business plan

Moreover, a business plan supports decision-making by evaluating the feasibility of new ventures and assessing potential risks and rewards. It helps to manage resources effectively by setting financial goals and tracking progress, ensuring the firm is making the most of its resources and achieving objectives.

Lastly, a law firm's business plan enables growth by identifying new opportunities and developing strategies to capitalize on them. By planning for the future and setting realistic growth targets, law firms can take their businesses to the next level. Overall, a well-developed business plan is critical for success in the legal industry, providing direction and focus, supporting decision-making, managing resources effectively, and enabling growth.

General Tips for Creating an Attorney Business Plan

Business plan best practices

Building a business plan for law firms is not an easy or intuitive process. By considering the following issues before opening your doors to clients, you have a much better chance of having a stable firm that matches your values and has a clear set of goals.

— Stay Focused

Forming a law firm can feel overwhelming. You have a lot of freedom and can easily get sidetracked into issues that either can wait or do not deserve your attention.

If having a strong law firm website design is important enough for you to include in your plan, you will spend time on that instead of less important matters.

A plan also includes a budget. The process of planning your firm's finances can ensure that you do not overspend (or underspend) as you start your own firm.

The attention to detail that comes from having a plan will help you avoid spreading yourself too thin by focusing on every issue or the wrong issues. Instead, you will maintain your focus on the important issues.

Whether you have law partners or develop a solo law firm business plan, the plan will help you stay focused on your end goals.

— Keep Track of Goals and Results

It is easy to set goals when you  start a law firm and then promptly forget about them.

Your plan will set out your goals and the metrics you will use to determine your progress toward meeting them. The plan should also explain how you will know when you have met them.

For example, you might have a growth goal of reaching five lawyers within two years. Or you might have a revenue goal of collecting $200,000 your first year.

Too many businesses, including law firms, meander on their developmental path. By setting goals and the path for meeting them, you will have guardrails to keep your firm on track.

"If you want to be the number one law firm in the country by revenue right in a 20 year time period, have that be your goal and everything that you do right is in service of that goal. You might not get there, but you're gonna find that you're gonna be very successful either way."

"If you want to be the number one law firm in the country by revenue right in a 20 year time period, have that be your goal and everything that you do right is in service of that goal. You might not get there, but you're gonna find that you're gonna be very successful either way." — Omar Ochoa

— Sort Out Your Own Law Firm Strategy

Developing a clear vision is important for establishing a strategic law firm plan aimed at long-term goals . As Omar Ochoa discusses in the podcast, having very specific milestone visions like where you want to be in five, ten, or fifteen years helps drive the strategy and actions needed to get there.

It's easy to say that you'll run your law firm better. But a plan actually helps you identify how to improve by articulating a concrete strategy. The process of creating the plan will help you pinpoint problems and solutions.

A plan forces consideration of operational details often overlooked. It equates to defining your firm's purpose and then pursuing that vision with purpose-driven strategies and actions. As Omar notes, marrying vision to action through knowledge of other successful law firm models is key to achieving goals.

One area that is frequently overlooked in plans is the inclusion of law firm marketing strategies . Developing this aspect is critical for attracting clients and sustaining growth.

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— Move Forward

You should view your plan as a law firm business development plan that will guide the formation and growth of your firm .

You can review the document periodically to remind you and your law partners of your growth and expansion projections. After this review, you can ensure your growth and expansion remain on track to carry you to your goals.

The review will also tell you whether you need to update your firm's goals. When you started your law firm, you might have been unduly pessimistic or optimistic in your projections. Once you have some time to operate according to your plan, you can update your goals to keep them realistic. You can also update your processes to focus on what works and discard what does not.

The review can provide your projections for what you hope to accomplish and the roadmap for accomplishing it.

Law Firm Business Plan Template

law firm business plan

Each of the websites below includes at least one attorney business development plan template:

  • Business Plan Workbook
  • PracticePro
  • Smith & Jones, P.A.
  • Wy'East Law Firm

You can use a law firm strategic plan example from these sites to start your firm's plan, then turn the plan into a document unique to your circumstances, goals, and needs.

What to Consider before Starting Law Firm Business Plans

Before starting a law firm business plan, think through a few key issues, including:

— Setting the Goals

Reflect deeply on your firm's purpose. Think about who you represent and how you can best meet their needs. A law firm exists for its clients. As you think about your  law firm goals , think about goals for providing legal services to your clients.

"We continue to try to have the biggest impact that we can because ultimately, in my opinion at least, that's what lawyers are for, is to be able to help people and be able to move us forward." — Omar Ochoa

You need to set realistic and achievable goals. These goals should reflect your reasons for starting your law firm. Thus, if you started your law firm because you expected to make more money on your own than working for someone else, set some goals for collections.

While you are setting your goals, think about how you will reach them and the ways you will measure your success. For example, if you want to expand to include ten lawyers within three years, think about intermediate goals at the end of years one and two. This helps measure your progress.

— Choosing Partnership Structure

For lawyers considering a partnership structure, it's important to select partners that complement each other's strengths and weaknesses to help the firm function effectively.

There are 2 main partnership structure options:

  • A single-tier model provides equal decision-making power and liability between partners.
  • Meanwhile, a two-tier structure offers tiers like equity and non-equity partners, providing flexibility and career progression opportunities.

While similarly skilled individuals may clash, partners with differing abilities can succeed together. Some attorneys also choose to run their own firm for flexibility. This allows them to leverage different specialists through occasional joint ventures tailored for specific cases, without the constraints of a single long-term partnership. Furthermore, it highlights how the law firm partnership structures impacts freedom and sustainability.

— Thinking of the Revenue You Need

Calculate how much revenue you need to cover your overhead and pay your salary. Suppose your expenses include:

  • $2,000 per month for office rent
  • $36,000 per year for a legal assistant salary
  • $600 per month for courier expenses
  • $400 per month for a copier lease

thinking of the revenue you need

Assume you want the  median annual salary for lawyers  of $127,990. You need $199,990 per year in revenue to cover your salary and expenses.

But revenue is not the end of the story. Your landlord, vendors, and employees expect to get paid monthly. So, you should also calculate how much cash flow you need each month to cover your hard expenses.

You also need a reserve. Clients expect you to front expenses like filing fees. Make sure you have a reserve to pay these costs and float them until clients reimburse you.

— Defining the Rate of Payment

You need to make some difficult decisions when it comes to setting your own fee structure. If you choose a higher billing rate, you will need to work less to meet your revenue goals. But you might not find many clients who are able to pay your fees.

Whether you charge a flat fee, contingent fee, or hourly fee, you should expect potential clients to compare your fees to those of your direct and indirect competitors. Remember, your firm competes against other lawyers, online services like  LegalZoom , and do-it-yourself legal forms books.

Finally, you need to comply with your state's rules of professional conduct when setting your fees. The  ABA's model rules  give eight factors to determine the reasonableness of a fee. These factors include the customary fee for your location and the skill required to provide the requested legal services.

— Making the Cases in Your Law Practice Meet the Revenue Needs

Figure out how much you need to work to meet your revenue target . If you charge a flat fee, you can simply divide your revenue target by your flat fee.

Hourly fee lawyers can calculate the number of hours they need to bill and collect. However, law firm owners rarely bill 100% of the hours they work due to the administrative tasks they perform to run a firm. Also, you will probably not collect 100% of your billings, and clients could take 90 days or longer to pay.

Contingency fee lawyers will find it nearly impossible to project the cases they need. You have no way of knowing the value of your cases in advance. You also have no idea when your cases will settle. You could work on a case for years before you finally get paid.

Parts of a Business Plan for Law Firm Formation: Structure

A law firm business plan is a written document that lays out your law firm goals and strategies.

For many businesses, a business plan helps secure investors. But the ethical rules prohibit law firms from seeking funding from  outside investors or non-lawyer shareholders .

Parts of a Business Plan

Your business plan is for you and your law partners. It will help you manage everyone's expectations and roles in the firm. Here is a law firm business plan example to help you see the parts and pieces in action.

— Executive Summary

An executive summary combines the important information in the business plan into a single-page overview. Your plan will include details like projections, budgets, and staffing needs. This section highlights the conclusions from those detailed analyses.

Your executive summary should include :

  • A mission statement explaining the purpose of your firm in one or two sentences
  • A list of the core values that your firm will use whenever it makes decisions about its future
  • The firm's overarching goals for itself, its lawyers, and the clients it serves
  • The unique selling proposition that sets your firm apart from other firms in the legal industry

You should think of this section as a quick way for people like lenders, potential law partners, and merger targets, to quickly understand the principles that drive your firm.

— Law Firm Description and Legal Structure

First, you will describe what your law firm does. You will describe your law practice and the clients you expect to serve.

Second, you will describe how your firm operates. The organization and management overview will explain your legal structure and the management responsibilities of you and your law partners.

This section should fill in the details about your firm's operation and structure by:

  • Describing the scope of the legal services you offer and your ideal clients
  • Restating your mission statement and core values and expanding upon how they will guide your firm
  • Explaining your location and where your clients will come from
  • Describing your business entity type and management structure
  • Detailing your unique selling proposition , including the features that distinguish your firm from your competitors

When someone reads this section, they should have a clear picture of what you will create.

— Financial Calculations

Your attorney business plan explains where your firm's revenue comes from and where it goes. This is where your skills as a lawyer begin to diverge from your skills as a business owner. You may need to learn a few new accounting concepts so you can perform the analyses expected in a financial plan.

You will need a  financial plan  for at least the first year.

If you plan to seek a bank loan or line of credit, your bank may need a financial plan that covers three years or longer.

You will need more than a few rough numbers for a useful business plan. Instead, you will need to estimate your expenses and revenues as accurately as possible.

"Take some financial statements courses, take some managerial accounting courses that teach you how to track costs, how to frame costs in a way that you're looking at the important costs." — Omar Ochoa

You might need to contact vendors and service providers to get precise costs. You will probably need to track your billings with your prior firm to predict your revenues. If you are opening a law firm after law school or an in-house job, you may need a competitive analysis to show what similar law firms earn in your location and practice area.

Some reports you may need in your business plan include:

  • Revenue analysis listing the fees you will collect each month
  • Budget describing your monthly and annual expenses
  • Financial projections combining the revenue analysis and budgeted expenses to predict your profit margins
  • Cash flow statement showing how your revenues and expenses affect your cash on hand.

Your cash flow statement might be the most important financial report because it explains how your bank balance will fluctuate over time. If your clients take too long to pay their bills or you have too many accounts payable due at the same time, your cash flow statement will show you when money might get tight.

— Market Analysis

A market analysis will tell you where you fit into the legal market in your location and field. You need a competitive analysis to understand the other lawyers and law firms that will compete with you for potential clients. You can also analyze their marketing messages to figure out how to stand out from the competition.

How to conduct market analysis

A competitive analysis will tell you what services other firms offer, how much they charge, and what features help your competitors succeed.

Your analysis should include a discussion about your :

  • Ideal clients and what you can do to help them
  • Market size and whether you offer something clients need
  • Competitors and what they offer to clients
  • Competitive advantages and how you can market them to potential clients

You can also develop and hone your marketing strategy based on the benefits you offer to clients over your competitors. Finally, a market analysis can tell you the locations and practice areas in which your firm may expand in the future.

Your market analysis helps you focus your efforts on your legal niche.

— Marketing Plan

A marketing plan sets out the steps you will take to reach your target market. Your marketing strategy will take your market analysis and turn it into a plan of action.

You will start with the results of your market analysis identifying your clients, your competitors, and your competitive advantages. You will then discuss the message you can deliver to potential clients that captures the advantages you have over your competition.

Questions for marketing plan creation

Some advantages you might have over other lawyers and law firms might include tangible benefits like lower billing rates or local office locations. Other advantages might provide some intangible benefits like more years of experience or state-bar-certified specialists in those states that allow specialization.

You will then discuss your marketing plan. A marketing plan explains :

  • Characteristics of the target market you want to reach
  • What your competition offers
  • The distinct benefits you offer
  • A message you can use to explain what separates you from your competition
  • Your action plan for delivering your message
  • Your goals for your action plan, such as the number of client leads, new clients, or new cases per month

Your action plan will include the marketing channels you want to use to spread your message. Marketing specialists can help you identify the best channels for your marketing message and client base.

For example, if you practice intellectual property law, you need to reach business owners and in-house lawyers who want to protect their companies' brands, inventions, artistic works, and trade secrets. A marketing agency may help you create a marketing strategy geared toward trade publications and business magazines.

However, IP lawyers require an entirely different marketing strategy than firms that practice family law. Family lawyers need to market to individuals and will tailor their marketing efforts toward different marketing channels and messages.

Even if you expect most of your client leads to come from referrals, you still need brand recognition for those leads to find you. You should consider a website, basic SEO, legal directory, and bar association listings.

— Your Law Firm Services

You will outline the services your law firm offers to clients. Lawyers with established clients and an existing legal practice can simply describe what they already do.

Any new law firm or lawyer transitioning from other practice areas should consider:

  • Practice areas you know and enjoy
  • Overlapping practice fields that will not require extra staff, such as personal injury and workers' comp
  • Related legal services your clients may need, such as wills and guardianship

By offering needed services you can competently provide, you can gain clients and avoid referring existing clients out to other lawyers.

— Your Law Firm Budget

You should approach your budget as a living document. You will spend more money as you add more lawyers and staff members to your firm. But you can also look for ways to reduce your operating costs through investments in technology services and other cost-saving measures .

Your budget should set out the amount you expect to initially spend on start-up expenses. As you create your start-up budget, remember many of these expenses are not recurring. Furniture, computers, and office space build-outs can last several years. In short, your budget should answer the question, "What do you need to open a law firm?"

It should also lay out the amount you plan to spend each month to operate your firm. Here, you will include your recurring expenses, such as rent, staff salaries, insurance premiums, and equipment leases.

Using your operating budget, you will determine the amount of money you need to start and run your firm. This, in turn, will tell you whether you need to take out a loan or tap into your savings to start your law firm. You will need a plan for paying your expenses and day-to-day costs while your firm gets onto its feet.

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Some Useful Tips on Creating a Business Plan for Law Firm Creation and Development

As you draft your law firm business plan, you should focus on the process. By putting your thoughts down in writing, you will often identify issues you had not previously considered.

Some other tips for drafting your business plan include:

— Describe Both Strengths and Weaknesses

You want to project confidence as you prepare your business plan. Remember, you will use this plan to approach potential law partners, lenders, and merger targets. You need to show that you have a solid plan backed up by your financial projections.

At the same time, you need to remain realistic. Write a business plan that describes your business challenges as well as your competitive advantages.

For example, if you have a strong competitor that has a solid  law firm reputation management  and many of the clients you will target, acknowledge the difficulty of getting those clients to switch law firms. Describe your marketing strategies for approaching and pitching your law firm to those clients.

— Think Ahead

Remember that your business plan sets out the roadmap for both the establishment and operation of your law firm . Think about issues that could arise as your firm grows and matures.

For example, you may have a goal of reaching ten lawyers in three years. But as your staff grows, you may need a human resources manager. You may also seek to handle your payroll in-house instead of outsourcing it to a payroll provider. These changes will create ripple effects throughout your business plans. You will incur costs when you add staff members. You will also realize benefits like increased attorney efficiency.

At the same time, any projections more than five years into the future will likely be useless. Your firm and its clients will evolve, and technology will change how you practice law.

"A law firm that actually does something in the unique way that is an actual measurable advantage to their clients or to their firm." — Tom Lenfestey

— Be Clear about Your Intentions

As you develop your plan, you should keep its purpose in mind. First, you want to outline your core values and goals for your law firm. Set out the reasons why you started your law firm and what you intend to accomplish with it.

"You can't just be doing something because you want prestige. There's gotta be more to that, right? You have to have a purpose that you're following. And if you've got that, that purpose is like gravity, right? You will always be grounded." — Omar Ochoa

Second, you set out your path to achieving those goals. This will include boring technical information like how much you spend on legal research every month. But it will also explain your approach to solving problems consistent with your mission statement and philosophy for law firm management.

— Consult and Update If Necessary

Your plan should guide you as you build your firm. It contains your goals and the roadmap for reaching them. But your plan is not carved in stone.

As you face challenges, you will consult your plan to make sure you approach these challenges in a way consistent with achieving your goals. But under some circumstances, you might find that the plan no longer provides the right solution.

As you work with your firm and your law partners, your goals, processes, and solutions to problems may evolve. The technology your firm uses may change. Your law firm's costs may go up with inflation or down as you realize economies of scale. You should update your plan when this happens.

— Develop a Succession Plan for Your Law Firm

Creating a succession plan for a law firm is essential for ensuring a smooth transition and preserving the firm’s value. Drawing from the experiences of professionals in other fields, it is clear that lawyers often face unique challenges in succession planning. A well-structured exit strategy can help lawyers realize the value of their practice, whether they plan to retire or pursue other interests.

Firms generating over $2 million in revenue typically have invested in systems that make them more attractive and easier to transition. These systems are crucial in creating value and attracting buyers. A transition-based sale, where the selling attorney remains involved for a period, ensures a smooth handover of clients and referral sources, reducing the risk of value loss. Additionally, specialized, systematized, and profitable firms command higher valuations. By investing in robust systems and considering your exit strategy early, you can create lasting value, financial security, and peace of mind, making your law firm more sellable in the future.

Building High-Value Law Firms with Tom Lenfestey, the CEO of Law Practice Exchange

This podcast episode features a discussion between Sasha Berson and Tom Lenfestey about the Law Practice Exchange, a marketplace for buying and selling law firms. Tom, an attorney and CPA, explains how his experience with other professionals inspired the creation of this marketplace. They discuss the importance of building systems to enhance a firm's value, the challenges of succession planning, and strategies for creating a smooth transition and maximizing value during a sale.

"You make more money with hopefully more consistency and less stress. And so that's also part of it is enjoy it. Build to better, right, overall, but build that firm that you want." — Tom Lenfestey

Final Steps

There is no recipe for creating a business plan for law firm development. What goes into your mission statement and plan will depend on several factors, including your law firm's business model. But this is a feature, not a bug of developing a business plan.

The process of business planning will help you develop solutions to issues you might have overlooked. If you have law partners, just going through the process of creating a law firm business plan can ensure that everyone is on the same page.

As you create your plan, the process itself should provoke thoughts and ideas so you can have a unique law firm tailored to your goals and values. This will help you get exactly what you wanted when you started in the legal industry.

To learn how to expand your client base as your firm grows, check out Grow Law Firm, a professional  law firm SEO agency .

The Founder of Omar Ochoa Law Firm

Omar Ochoa is a founding attorney with extensive experience in complex litigation, including antitrust, class actions, and securities cases. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients and has been nationally recognized as one of the best young trial lawyers in the country.

Omar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in business administration, accounting, and economics. He later earned his law degree from the university, serving as editor-in-chief of the Texas Law Review. He has clerked for two federal judges and has worked at the prestigious law firm Susman Godfrey L.L.P. Omar is dedicated to seeking excellence. He has been recognized for his outstanding achievements in antitrust litigation.

Tom Lenfestey

The CEO of Law Practice Exchange

Tom Lenfestey is an attorney and CPA who founded the Law Practice Exchange, a marketplace for buying and selling law firms. With a background in assisting dentists and CPAs in selling their practices, Tom identified the need for a similar platform for lawyers. His work focuses on helping attorneys realize the value of their practices, providing structured exit strategies, and facilitating smooth transitions.

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19 Mar 2020

How to Write Your Law Firm Business Plan

Cari Twitchell

By Cari Twitchell

News Articles Healthy Strategy

Every new law practice needs a business plan . This is a guide to creating one.

Here is what should go in your business plan once you’ve decided about your law firm business model.

Section One: Executive Summary

This section provides a succinct overview of your full plan. It should also include the following:

  • Mission statement.  This statement should be one or two sentences at most, so you can quickly state it off the top of your head at any given moment. It should clearly state your value and offer inspiration and guidance, while being plausible and specific enough to ensure relevancy. For further direction on how to write a mission statement, read this Entrepreneur article .
  • Core values.  Your core values outline the strategy that underpins your business. When written well, they help potential employees and clients understand what drives you every day. When written incorrectly, they include meaningless platitudes that become yet another thing forgotten or ignored during practice. To pack the most punch into your core values, write them as actionable statements that you can follow. And keep them to a minimum: two to four should do just fine. You can read more about writing core values at  Kinesis .
  • What sets you apart.  If you are like every other attorney out there, how will you stand out? This is known as your unique selling proposition (USP). What is it that will convince clients to turn to you instead of your competition? By clearly stating your USP, you identify what it is about your firm that will ensure your success.

Are you feeling slightly overwhelmed by all of this? Then write this section last, as you’ll find much of what you write here is a summary of everything you include in subsequent sections.

Section Two: Company Description

Write a succinct overview of your company. Here is what it should cover:

  • Mission statement and values.  Reiterate your mission statement and core values here.
  • Geographic location and areas served.  Identify where your offices are located and the geographic areas that you serve.
  • Legal structure and ownership. State whether you are an LLC, S-Corp or other legal entity. If you are something other than a sole proprietor, identify the ownership structure of your firm. How does your law firm business model influence the ownership type?
  • Firm history.  If you are writing or updating a plan for a law firm already in existence, write a brief history that summarizes firm highlights and achievements.

This section is often the shortest. Do not spend much time or space here. Touch on the major points and move on.

Section Three: Market Analysis

Done correctly, a well thought out market analysis will help you identify exactly what your potential clients are looking for and how much you should charge for your services. It also enables you to identify your competitors’ weaknesses, which in turn helps you best frame your services in a way that attracts your preferred clientele. You probably already considered some of these subjects when deciding on the small law firm business model, but you need to document them.

Elements of a market analysis include:

  • Industry description.  Draft up a summary that encompasses where your particular legal niche is today, where it has been, and which trends will likely affect it in the future. Identify everything from actual market size to project market growth.
  • Target audience.  Define your target audience by building your ideal client persona. Use demographics such as location, age, family status, occupation and more. Map out the motivations behind their seeking your services and then how it is you are best able to satisfy their requirements.
  • Competitive analysis.  This is where you dive into details about your competitors. What do they do well? Where do they fall short? How are they currently underserving your target market? What challenges do you face by entering legal practice in your field of choice?
  • Projections.  Provide specific data on how much your target audience has to spend. Then narrow that down to identify how much you can charge per service.

A proper market analysis includes actual data to support your analysis. If you are unsure of where to find data, Bplans  has a great list of resources for you to use. And if you would like to read further about conducting a market analysis, check out this article from the Small Business Administration.

Section Four: Organization & Management

This section goes into detail about you and any others who may have ownership interest in the firm. The small law firm business model section here should incorporated into the management documentation. Do not be afraid to brag a bit!

  • What is your educational background?
  • What experience do you currently have?
  • Why are you the right person to run your firm?

If there are other individuals involved, it is a good idea to insert your organizational chart here. Visuals help quickly convey information and break up otherwise blocky text.

Section Five: Services

The Services section is the heart of your law firm business model plan. It is where you dive into all aspects of your services, including:

  • The problem(s) you are addressing.  What pain points do your preferred clients experience? What can they do right now to alleviate those pain points? Answer these questions, and then take the extra step to explain how those current solutions fail to adequately address their problems.
  • The solution(s) you are providing.  This describes how your solutions better resolve your prospective market’s needs. This not only includes the actual work you do, but the benefits that each client will receive based on your work.
  • An overview of your competition.  Describe your competition here. For instance, which other solo attorneys and firms provide the same solutions as you? What are your advantages over these competitors? What do you differently when providing your solutions? How will clients gain additional benefits by seeking out your services instead of working with your competitors?

Section 6: Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy section needs to address the three P’s:

  • Positioning.  How will you position your law firm and your services? What will you say to present your practice in the best light? What short statements can you use to entice a potential client to pursue your services?
  • Pricing.  How much will you charge? How does that fit within the legal industry? Within your niche industry? What do clients receive for that price?
  • Promotion.  Which sales channels and marketing activities will you pursue to promote your practice? Who is in charge of these activities? Even if you plan to build your law firm on the basis of word-of-mouth referrals, you must remember that most referrals will still look for information about you before contacting you. Know where they will look and ensure you are there.

Section Seven: Financials

Last comes the financials section. It is the key component to your plan if you are going to seek funding to get your practice off the ground. It is imperative that you complete this section even if you are not seeking funding, however, as you need to paint a clear financial picture before opening your doors.

Two main items make up this section: budgeting and forecasting (sales and cash flow). Answer these questions to help you address these items:

  • How much starting capital do you need?
  • How much money will it cost to keep your practice operating on a month-to-month basis?
  • How many cases will you need to close each month to break even?
  • How many cases would you need to close to make a profit?
  • What is your projected profit and loss for the year?

This section often incorporates graphs and other images, including profit-and-loss and cash-flow tables. The more specific you get with your numbers, the more likely you are to succeed!

One final note: If your goal is to submit your business plan to potential funders, you want to do everything you can to make sure your plan stands out. One good way to do this is to work with a designer to artfully format your plan. Great presentation can take you a long way.

Originally published 2017-09-23. Republished 2020-07-31.

Cari Twitchell

About the Author



Website: https://www.customcontentllc.com

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Home Committees, Members & Career Services Small Law Firm Center Overview Small Firm Resources Writing a Business Plan for Law Firm – Law Firm Business Plan Sample

Writing a Business Plan for Law Firm – Law Firm Business Plan Sample

Business plans for lawyers.

New York City Bar Association Small Law Firm Committee

Writing a Business Plans for Lawyers – The Non-Financial Side

1 Why write a law firm business plan?

First and foremost, it’s a Management Tool, It f orces you to think through important issues you may not otherwise consider The recipe to grow your law practice

  • A roadmap, albeit a changing one, with milestones to help reach goals you already know and have yet to define
  • A sales tool to obtain financing
  • A sales tool when looking to form a partnership or join one
  • Some parts of a business plan include stating the obvious, but should not be overlooked because they still form a part of the whole
  • As you write it, ideas come, strategies unfold, beliefs you may have had change
  • It also changes your mindset. You’re no longer thinking about starting a business, you’re now in the process of starting a business.
  • If you write a business plan and put it away in a drawer you have not written one that is feasible or is going to do you any good. Continual updating – whether semi-annual, annual, biennial, whichever is best for you – is your own set of checks and balances.

If you are going to buy a book, look for one that offers general advice and suggestions applicable to all businesses. And, if you choose a software package, eliminate the “techy” things like their numbering system; that is a dead giveaway that you’re using a software program. Also, eliminate sections that are irrelevant!

Suggestion: Don’t just buy one from an online bookstore. Take the time go through a table of contents and thumb through.

Examples available from Barnes & Noble:

  • Alpha Teach Yourself – Business Plans in 24 Hours by Michael Miller
  • Successful Business Planning in 30 Days TM, 3/ed, Peter Patsula
  • The Executive Summary
  • Analysis of Your Market
  • Description of Your Firm
  • Competitors
  • Your Marketing Strategy

No set formula for a successful practice

Before developing a plan for a lawyer, answer the following:

  • Identify your practice niche(s)
  • What skills and experience you bring to your practice
  • What legal structure to use: sole proprietorship, PC, partnership, LLP, etc.
  • What clients you currently have and might potentially acquire
  • What clients you want
  • What business and social contacts you have
  • What other attorneys you can call upon to fill in practice gaps
  • How your firm’s records will be kept
  • What equipment and supplies will be needed
  • What library and other information sources will be needed
  • What insurance will be needed
  • What other resources will be needed
  • How you will compensate yourself
  • Review your current finances re assets, current cash flow, expenses
  • What financing may be needed
  • What financial assets do you have
  • What banking accounts will be needed
  • Review your current non non-financial resources
  • Identify your market
  • Describe your startup plans
  • Where will your office be located
  • What will the name of your firm be

2 The Executive Summary

For some businesses this is the most important part of the business plan because it summarizes what the company does, where it is going and how to get there. Therefore, it must describe the company, the “product” and the market opportunities concisely.

It is written after the plan is complete but is the first and, sometimes, most important part read by investors.

How important this is for a legal business plan depends on your long and short term goals, e.g., whether they are to grow a partnership, join a firm, build up a practice that is enticing for acquisition by a larger firm, etc.

In order to provide that summary, go through a number of exercises:

  • Mission statement – the firm’s purpose and what it will do
  • Major goals
  • Objectives/milestones needed to achieve those goals
  • Vision statement – where you want to go and what you want your firm to become, not just 20 years down the road but where you want to be three or five years from now
  • List what is out of your control e.g., nature of the law business, direction of the marketplace, competition, mergers and acquisitions among clients, and competitors, attorneys and firms already in place
  • Analyze opportunities to face and threats
  • List your firm’s specific capabilities and whatever you believe you can offer that is unique
  • If you are not a solo practitioner, who is the management
  • What is the legal organization
  • What technology will you be capitalizing on
  • What is the marketing potential
  • Describe your basic strategies based on the information you have learned about the legal business, your competition and applicable markets within your field.
  • Provide the basis for why you believe your strategy is the right one for your firm.
  • What markers will you use to change direction
  • Outline what your firm needs to make that strategy succeed
  • Financial projections
  • Back up of those projections with assumptions (so that they can be adjusted as necessary)
  • Summary of revenues by month for at least three years
  • Balance sheet
  • Cash flow statement
  • What actions you’re going to take to carry out the plan
  • What changes will be needed or skills acquired to put the plan to work

3 Analysis of Your Market: The Legal “Business” that Affects You

Purpose: an accurate understanding of trends affecting law practice in general and your specializations, client demographics, client universe.

Keep track of impact factors, obstacles, opportunities and threats to better forecast and build the strategies.

  • Identify who and what firms dominate and where they are
  • What new technologies have already and may yet change the way your practice is done
  • What laws and regulations have and may yet change your practice
  • Describe the overall demand for your specialties
  • What else besides price affects your client decisions to use your services
  • What clients (people or companies) can influence your areas of practice
  • Large firms, mid size, boutiques, solo practitioners
  • In-house attorneys
  • Government attorneys
  • Divide into primary, secondary and, if necessary, tertiary levels
  • Is there substitution, e.g., do it yourself or outsourcing to India
  • List what is available and how it affects your practice
  • Describe how technology is affecting your kind of practice
  • Describe who controls the technologies that affect
  • Describe how you keep up with new technology
  • List all the things that will make it difficult for you to practice in your expertise and locale
  • List the things that will make your exit from you area of expertise or your transition to a different one difficult
  • What can relationships with suppliers do for you
  • Could a supplier become a competitor, e.g.; for articles you write
  • Colleagues and competitors
  • Professional associations
  • Community associations
  • Social and business organizations
  • Current and former clients
  • Former employment colleagues
  • Pro bono colleagues
  • What ways improve your position with clients
  • Does pricing affect
  • What else affects your relationship
  • What kind of follow up do you do after meeting someone who may be a potential client or who can introduce you
  • Writing articles
  • Giving speeches
  • How can you use your other relationships
  • What are the overall costs that affect your hourly, daily or matter rates?
  • Profit margins
  • What do suppliers of your technology, research, information, etc. offer by way of pricing, discounts
  • Are there long term agreements that can be to your advantage/disadvantage
  • Elasticity of demand for the rates you charge
  • If on a regular retainer, are you realizing 100% of your hourly rate, or more/less
  • Identify where the biggest costs of your practice come from
  • Identify fixed and variable costs
  • How to gain economies of scale
  • Identify where you can lower costs
  • Is the profit margin you’re working with the right one for your practice
  • Describe the size of your primary market
  • List the niche markets that can use your expertise
  • Is your kind of practice a growing or shrinking market
  • Identify new growth opportunities in your areas of expertise
  • Economic slowdowns
  • Changing statutes, regulations and decisions
  • Social pressures
  • By product, industry, size, geography
  • Membership lists of trade organizations
  • List of conference attendees
  • By referral of current clients
  • By referral of colleagues, bar association, etc.
  • By referral from competitors with conflicts
  • What untapped market is there
  • What underserved market is there
  • Trade associations made of small companies in the same field
  • Part time general counsel for small companies
  • Trade associations you can join and committees you can volunteer for

4 Describing and Analyzing Your Own Firm

  • It’s not just a law firm.
  • What’s the general history
  • When was it formed and why
  • What is your mission
  • What are your goals
  • What direct experience do you have? Your partners?
  • How relevant is your experience to the current world?
  • How often do you talk to prospective clients
  • What do you current clients feel about you
  • What is the maximum amount of business you can handle yourself without farming it out
  • To whom can you farm
  • Who is your backup when you are too busy, traveling on business, on vacation, sick
  • What is unique about you or your practice
  • Describe the areas you focus on and want to focus on
  • What are the ancillary areas of law that often or usually involved or triggered by your focus area
  • What need does your expertise serve
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of your areas of expertise
  • Identify your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Who are your clients
  • Who among your clients makes the decisions to use your services
  • What stage of business development are your clients in
  • How sophisticated/knowledgeable are your clients
  • Are your clients street smart and/or business savvy
  • Do they use more than one lawyer at a time
  • Long term objectives
  • Short term objectives
  • What problems do you face
  • What problems do your clients face
  • What do you consider milestones
  • What are the legal (statutory, regulatory & case law) trends that will affect it
  • What are the technological trends that will affect it
  • What are the economic trends that will affect it
  • What potential risks and opportunities to be faced?
  • Do you use innovative technology
  • Do you offer superior client care/service
  • Is your hourly, daily, or matter pricing lower than the “norm”
  • Is there a small group of firms or attorneys who offer the same expertise or specialization
  • Are you well known for a book, a speech, an article, news coverage, etc.
  • Are you a trade association or bar association director or active participan
  • Do a SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Strengths & Weaknesses are vis à vis your competitors, rather than your own history Focus on current competition and potential competition

  • Are there advantages to your expertise areas
  • What do you enjoy doing
  • What resources to you have access to
  • What do others see as your strengths
  • What can you improve
  • What don’t you do well
  • What should you avoid
  • Do others perceive a weakness you don’t agree with
  • Are your competitors doing better than you
  • How can you meet a potential client
  • What are the good opportunities – are they new areas, new statutes & regulations, etc.
  • How can changes in technology help you
  • How can changes (or no changes) in government policy affect your area of expertise
  • Are there changes in social patterns or lifestyle that can help
  • What opportunities can open if a weakness is eliminated
  • Family/emotional/physical challenges
  • Technological challenges
  • What is your competition doing you are not
  • How can technological changes threaten you

5 Competitive Analysis and Target Market

  • List law firm/solo practice trends
  • List direct competition
  • List indirect competition
  • Describe the extent of the unserved market for your kind of legal services
  • Who is your client/customer
  • What is your price
  • Profile your primary customer
  • Traits: geographics, demographics, psychograhics
  • List client needs
  • Describe how your fill those needs
  • List primary, secondary and tertiary competitors
  • What services do they offer in addition to yours
  • What do they charge
  • How do competitor firms sell their services
  • What are the competitor strengths
  • What are the competitor weaknesses
  • What size competes with you
  • What other specialties do they offer
  • Who are they representing
  • What is their pricing
  • What are their operational strengths and weaknesses
  • Are they adequately financed
  • How do your competitors advertise or promote themselves
  • What are their conflicts
  • How does your competition market itself
  • Competitive Identification
  • Direct competitor – offers the same benefit
  • Indirect competitor – services the client can get instead of yours
  • Visit and read competitor websites and their advertising, including separate websites by individual partners
  • Subscribe to competitor law firm online or other newsletters
  • Does it use innovative technology
  • Does it offer superior client care/service
  • Is its hourly, daily, or matter pricing lower than the “norm”
  • Are they well known for a book, a speech, an article, news coverage, etc.
  • Are they trade association or bar association directors or active participants

Generate similar info for potential clients to help identify the target that will be most interested in you

A marketing plan must have a detailed description of the target market for your services, an analysis of the trends and conditions of that marketplace and how the trends affect that marketplace

  • Total size of targeted market
  • Historical current and projected growth rates
  • What social, economic &political changes could affect it and your services
  • Describe recent developments in the law that affect your areas of expertise
  • Are there identifiable niches
  • What or will be your clients’ needs and wants
  • How will potential customers find out about you
  • What kind of marketing, if any, are your clients and potential clients receptive to
  • What do existing clients like best about your services
  • Are your target clients consumers, businesses or both
  • Demographics, psychographics, legal service purchasing habits
  • When and how does the client decide to use a lawyer & find a lawyer
  • Does your potential client use the Internet, bar association, trade association, business referral, family referral, friend referral, etc. to find a lawyer
  • What is your client’s level of education and occupation
  • Are they Fortune 1000,500, 100, mid size or smaller
  • Is your client industry specialized and do you know that industry
  • Does the client use more than one lawyer or law firm
  • How long does the client take to decide to use a lawyer
  • Does more than one person at the client make the decisions to use a lawyer, and if so who are they
  • Is the person who decides who is going to provide legal services the one who is going to receive those services
  • What influences your client’s decision to retain a lawyer
  • Is using a lawyer optional, a necessity or a luxury
  • Is a lawyer needed all year round, seasonal or ad hoc
  • How and how well do your clients market themselves

6 Marketing & Strategy

Once you analyze your client needs you can build a comprehensive marketing strategy,

  • What is it you intend to accomplish
  • What is the amount of increase in clients and/or billing that you want to achieve
  • Make each goal measurable and explain each one specifically
  • Set each goal to a planned schedule
  • Be able and prepared to assess all components to revise when necessary
  • Compare these goals to what you believe your competitors’ goals to be
  • Tactical objectives = measurable tasks
  • Create client value
  • Name recognition among your clients and potential clients
  • Client retention
  • Attracting partners or merging into a bigger firm
  • Create a timeline for the objectives or events
  • Determine the time frame for the plan, e.g., every six months, every year, etc.
  • Describe the need for your services from the client’s POV
  • Define the impact on the client of your services
  • Ask whether your clients currently obtain this service more cost-effectively than you can provide it
  • Describe what would compel clients to change from the lawyers they are using to you or to add you to their lawyer rosters
  • E.g., how you will use that list of relationships
  • Marketing Mix – Networking, Advertising, Promotion, PR
  • Inserts in papers
  • Bus, taxi, etc. ads
  • Space in professional and trade publications
  • Street banners
  • New resident welcome kits
  • Trade and trade association show directories and handouts
  • Trade and trade association show sponsorships
  • Coupon mailers
  • Press releases
  • Sponsorship
  • CRM (customer relationship marketing)
  • Cost based = cost plus profit margin
  • Cost plus profit = cost plus fixed percentage markup
  • Market based = use the market norm and add or subtract
  • Ask what the highest price your target market can bear
  • Determine the price elasticity for your kind of legal services
  • Should you offer an introductory rate
  • Age of business
  • Premises/location
  • Competition
  • Cost to acquire a client

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The Business Plan Workbook

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Law Firm Business Plan

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Wy'East Law Firm

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">.

Wy’East Law Firm (WLF) is a boutique technology law firm located in Portland, Oregon. The firm will be lead by Richard Bloom, a seasoned attorney previously with (name omitted)’s e-group. WLF will service all needs generated by technology firms, with specialization on mergers and acquisitions and qualified stock option plans; and handles both start-up and established companies.

In addition to WLF’s technology practice, we will offer public interest legal work at subsidized rates. The technology practice will allow the firm to be able to provide public interest organizations legal help at the cost of overhead.

WLF is a limited liability company founded and lead by Richard Bloom.

Law firm business plan, executive summary chart image

1.1 Objectives

The objectives for WLF for the first three years of operation include:

  • To create a law firm whose primary goal is to exceed customer’s expectations.
  • To develop a client list that includes at least 20 companies, each with revenues of over $3 million.
  • To increase the ability to serve public interest organizations each year.
  • To be able to offer each year some legal services at a subsidized rate.

1.2 Mission

The mission of Wy’East Law Firm is to provide the Portland community with technological and public interest legal guidance. We exist to attract and maintain customers and to support the public interest community. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place.

Company Summary company overview ) is an overview of the most important points about your company—your history, management team, location, mission statement and legal structure.">

WLF is a law firm serving technology companies and public interest organizations, and will subsidize its public interest work with local companies. WLF specializes in mergers and acquisitions as well as stock option plans, but can handle most legal needs for a technology company.

The technology work will subsidize the company’s public interest work which will be billed out at the cost of overhead.

2.1 Company Ownership

WLF is a limited liability company, owned solely by Richard Bloom.

2.2 Start-up Summary

WLF’s start-up costs will include all equipment needed for the home office, website creation, and advertising.

The home office equipment will be the largest chunk of the start-up expenses. This equipment includes 4 computers, a fax machine, copier, cellular phone, office supplies, additional land line, a DSL connection, and office furniture.

Start-up expenses will also include advertising. Two methods will be used: a content-only website and the Yellow Pages. 

Law firm business plan, company summary chart image

WLF will provide provide law services to two different groups of customers.

  • Technology law services . WLF will provide legal services to high technology clients, to both start-up companies and established firms. While the firm excels in mergers, acquisitions, and qualified stock option plans, we also have experience in almost any legal field that a tech firm encounters. These clients, billed at market rate, will subsidize the public interest clients.
  • Public interest law . WLF will serve regional public interest organizations, with a concentration on environmental and civil rights organizations. For most public interest organizations, good legal help is expensive. By using technology clients to subsidize the cost of legal fees for public interest firms, WLF is able to make significant contributions back to the community.

Market Analysis Summary how to do a market analysis for your business plan.">

WLF’s customers can be divided into two groups, technology firms and public interest organizations.

  • Public interest organizations . These clients will be diversified, some are environmental organizations others are civil rights groups. While some public interest organizations receive their legal services for free (pro bono) from some attorneys, there is an extreme shortage of legal help for these organizations. Therefore, it is quite attractive to these organizations to have the possibility of receiving top legal help at a subsidized rate. Attracting these clients will not be the problem, the difficulty will be for Richard to select which organization will receive his help.

Law firm business plan, market analysis summary chart image

4.1 Target Market Segment Strategy

WLF will be targeting high technology companies for two reasons.

  • Although the economy has taken a recent plummet, particularly technology firms, technology is still a growing sector of the economy. This is evidenced by the fact that 17 out of the top 25 fastest growing companies are technology firms, according to The Business Journal of Portland.
  • Technology is Richard’s area of expertise. Richard practiced law at one of the top three law firms in Portland and was in their e-group, concentrating on technology firms. His experience, coupled with his network of colleagues within the industry, makes technology firms attractive customers.

WLF will be targeting public interest organizations for one simple reason, a desire to give back to the community. Public interest work is inherently altruistic to some degree. Generally, the person performing the work receives a good feeling for his/her contribution, but in today’s capitalistic society, someone who donates his/her time at far below market wages should be considered altruistic.

4.2 Service Business Analysis

The technology law practice is fairly competitive in Portland. Most larger, more prestigious firms have attorneys who specialize in technology. Some smaller firms also have attorneys who do work for technology companies. Lastly, there are boutique firms, like WLF. As a service-based industry, the practice of law is driven by personal relationships and reputation. Potential clients choose attorneys based on reputation and who they are familiar with or are recommended to. Therefore, if the attorney is providing better service to a client, the client is likely to form a long lasting business relationship with the client.

Pro Tip:

WLF has the advantage that when Richard left (name omitted) he brought 15 of his clients, which, for now, are almost enough to survive on.

Strategy and Implementation Summary

WLF will be courting new technology clients through networking and advertisements in the Yellow Pages, Business Journal of Portland, and other technology specific regional journals. As stated earlier, WLF has a sufficient amount of business at day one, however, more technology clients means the ability to perform more public interest work.

Richard will be attending the Portland Venture Group meetings as well as other informal gatherings of technology companies to network with the different technology firms in the region. These networking activities along with advertisements in appropriate media forms will allow WLF to steadily grow their list of clients.

5.1 Competitive Edge

WLF’s competitive advantage will be based on two factors, experience and specialization:

  • Experience. Richard brings to WLF three years of practicing technology law at a top firm in Portland. Reputation carries a lot of weight and Richard’s time at (name omitted) means a lot in the Portland legal community and is very attractive to prospective clients. Additionally, beyond the reputation of working for a coveted firm, is the fact that the three years spent at (name omitted) provided Richard with big name clients.
  • Specialization. As a boutique firm that concentrates on technology companies, WLF is in a desirable situation because it’s knowledge base is considerable, relative to other firms that practice a wide range of law.

5.2 Sales Strategy

WLF’s sales strategy will begin with months two through five with the goal of serving the existing customer base of clients. The absence of bringing in new clients during this time is purposeful, it allows WLF and the existing clients to form a new relationship at WLF, different from their previous relationship at (name omitted).

Month six will signal WLF’s conscious effort to generate new clients. Using the previously mentioned networking techniques, Richard, through personal communications, will convince prospective clients of the value of a boutique technology law firm, specifically the depth of knowledge and the close attention that the client will get when dealing with a small firm.

Regarding the public interest organizations, there will be less of a sale strategy, more of a choosing of the organizations that Richard wants to represent. There are so many needy public interest organizations that Richard will have to pick and choose those that he wishes to help out.

5.2.1 Sales Forecast

The first month will be spent setting up the home office. This will include setting up the office, a conference room, and all of the computer equipment. During the first month, Richard will also be serving some existing technology clients and some public interest clients. We project that if we spend 1/3 of our time on the technology clients, this would sufficiently subsidize the public interest clients so we would only have to cover overhead expenses.

By month six, Richard will begin actively soliciting new clients. Between months one and five he will continue networking, though will not be actively seeking customers. From month seven on and there will be a slight increase in clients taken aboard. There will be only a slight increase so as to create solid relationships with the new and existing clients. Richard will be cognizant of the possibility of growing too fast and not being able to offer the same quality service to his clients.

Law firm business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

5.3 Milestones

WLF will have several milestones early on:

  • Business plan completion.
  • Set up home office.
  • First month of total technology subsidy.

Management Summary management summary will include information about who's on your team and why they're the right people for the job, as well as your future hiring plans.">

Wy’East Law Firm is an Oregon Corporation founded and run by Richard Bloom. Richard has a degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark University. While at Lewis and Clark, Richard was the President of the school’s Public Interest Student Organization. It was through this organization that Richard became fond of public interest law. After graduation, Richard went to work for (name omitted) for three years in the e-group which concentrated on technology. While working in the e-group, Richard worked on technology issues with a number of well known start-up organizations and established companies.

One of the perks working at (name omitted) was his ability to do pro bono work which counted toward his required yearly billable hours requirement. Richard has spent a fair amount of time with 1000 Friends of Oregon and other public interest organizations. After three years however, Richard was feeling constrained and desired more autonomy. He decided to leave and start his own firm. Richard was able to bring a fair number of his clients from (name omitted) to his new firm, helping the transition from leaving an established practice to hanging out his own shingle and starting over. 

6.1 Personnel Plan

The staff will consist of Richard working full time. In addition to Richard, a part-time secretary and part-time paralegal will join WLF by month two. Month four will bring WLF a law clerk, and a second law clerk by month eight.

Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">

The following sections will outline important financial information.

7.1 Important Assumptions

The following table details important assumptions.

7.2 Projected Profit and Loss

The following table and charts present the projected profit and loss.

Law firm business plan, financial plan chart image

7.3 Break-even Analysis

The Break-even Analysis indicates what WLF will need in hours and revenue a month to reach the break-even point.

Law firm business plan, financial plan chart image

7.4 Projected Cash Flow

The following chart and table show anticipated cash flow.

Law firm business plan, financial plan chart image

7.5 Projected Balance Sheet

The following table displays the projected balance sheet.

7.6 Business Ratios

Industry profile ratios based on the NAICS code 541110, Offices of Lawyers, are shown in the table below.

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Watch CBS News

How Trump's conviction could change the dynamics of the 2024 race

By Olivia Rinaldi , Jacob Rosen , Katrina Kaufman

Updated on: May 31, 2024 / 11:57 AM EDT / CBS News

Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in his Manhattan criminal trial, adding another layer of uncertainty to an already unprecedented campaign.

As a c onvicted felon , Trump is not prevented from continuing to campaign for president , since the Constitution does not prohibit candidates from running for president even if they are convicted of a crime. In fact, there is precedent for a candidate running from behind bars: In 1920, Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs ran for president from a federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

Trump is the first former U.S. president to be found guilty of felonies, and the first major party candidate to run for office after being found guilty of a crime. Here's how his conviction could change the 2024 campaign:

How Trump can campaign after his conviction

Now that he's convicted, Trump is all but certain to appeal the decision handed down by the jury, and he is likely to be able to return to the campaign trail as the process plays out. 

The next development in the case will come at sentencing, currently scheduled for July 11. Justice Juan Merchan has wide discretion over when sentencing occurs and what the punishment looks like. Trump faces a maximum of up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each of the 34 felony charges of falsification of business records. The sentencing options available to Merchan include prison, probation, conditional discharge, fines or house arrest.

The judge could put limitations on his travel, such as restricting Trump from leaving the state and taking his passport, but Merchan has said he doesn't want to interfere with his ability to campaign.

"I would think that the judge wouldn't dare interfere with his right to speak to the American public because it's the right of the voters to be informed as well," said John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on corporate governance and white collar crime.

In a recent survey of dozens of cases brought by Manhattan District Attorney's Office in which falsifying business records was the most serious charge at arraignment, attorney and author Norm Eisen found that roughly one in 10 of those cases resulted in a sentence of incarceration.

"I think that is fascinating," said Caroline Polisi, a criminal defense attorney and professor at Columbia Law School. "A lot of commentators say the reason he won't be incarcerated is because the logistics of it with respect to the Secret Service would be too much. On the other hand, if you're saying he should be treated like any other defendant, we have a lot of data saying that 90% of other defendants would not get jail time in this situation."

The impact of the conviction on Trump's ability to campaign could largely hinge on what sentence Merchan ultimately hands down, and when Trump would serve it.

"In the context in which he is found guilty and then sentenced to no jail time, I don't think it's going to cause a bit of difference," added Polisi. "There might be some minor issues. He might not be able to vote for himself. But other than that, I don't think it's going to cause any problems."

When determining Trump's sentence, the judge could take into account his numerous gag order violations — which led Merchan to threaten him with jail time if the violations continued — and his lack of demonstrated remorse or respect for the legal system. Throughout the trial, Trump referred to Merchan as "conflicted" and "corrupt" and to the case itself as a "sham." 

"In New York, a 78-year-old defendant, who's a first time offender, committed a non-violent offense, and has an otherwise, well, distinguished record — in some regards being an ex-president is distinguished. In that kind of world, there'd be no chance of an incarceration sentence," said Coffee. Trump turns 78 on June 14. "They can use probation, they can use fines. But there may be a view of many judges that you have to show that no one's above the law, and even the future president should have a taste of prison."

Even if Merchan does order Trump to serve time behind bars, the sentence could be deferred until his appeal has run its course.

"In other cases, when you don't have someone running for the White House, it would be more or acceptable to put him immediately into incarceration," said Coffee. "You certainly could put special conditions on what he could do or put him under house arrest, but I think until we get to the actual election, we're going to have to let Donald Trump run around and campaign."

The conviction's possible impact on Trump's poll numbers and support

Trump has predicted that a conviction in this trial could boost his poll numbers. 

"Even if convicted, I think that it has absolutely no impact. It may drive the numbers up, but we don't want that. We want to have a fair verdict," Trump told CBS Pittsburgh in an interview earlier this month.

Trump's support among his Republican base has been remarkably resilient in the face of his various criminal cases. In the months following his four indictments last year, Trump maintained his commanding lead in the Republican primary, capturing the nomination despite the dozens of criminal charges he faced.

Many Trump supporters who CBS News has interviewed since the trial began have said a guilty conviction will not change how they vote in November, adopting the former president's grievances as their own.

"Stormy Daniels has already been reviewed and stuff. It's kind of coincidental," Michigan resident Lori Beyer said at a recent rally in Freeland, Michigan, adding she would vote for Trump regardless of the conviction. "I don't think it's going to impact it, as far as I'm concerned."

Whether a conviction changes the minds of voters who are not committed to the former president remains to be seen. A recent CBS News poll found that the majority of Americans believed Trump is "definitely or probably" guilty of the charges he faced in New York. The overwhelming majority of Democrats — 93% — believed Trump was guilty, while 78% Republicans said he was not. Independents were split, with 53% believing he was guilty and 47% saying he wasn't. 

Opinions about whether Trump was guilty or not were already highly partisan, according to Kabir Khanna, deputy director of elections and data analytics for CBS News. Most people who believed Trump was guilty also thought the jury would convict him, and vice versa. 

Additionally, Khanna said people who followed the trial closely were the most polarized in their views.

"Together, these factors could blunt the impact of the verdict on the views of an already divided public," Khanna said. "Some voters may be swayed by the news, but I wouldn't expect a sea change." 

Other polling supports that notion. A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey released Thursday found that 67% of registered voters nationwide said a Trump conviction would not make a difference in how they vote. Among independents, just 11% said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump.

The conviction also gives the Biden campaign a potentially potent new weapon in their arsenal: the ability to label Trump a convicted felon. Mr. Biden remained largely silent about the Trump trial while it was ongoing, but NBC News reported last week that he planned to become more aggressive about Trump's legal woes after the trial concluded, while acknowledging that Trump would be on the ballot regardless of how his legal cases played out.

Trump has used the trial to help boost his fundraising, and will likely look to capitalize on the conviction. The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee saw an influx of donations after jury selection began, with the two entities raising $76 million in April. His campaign had about $50 million cash on hand at the beginning of May as he prepared to get back out on the campaign trail after the trial.

The former president repeatedly used the developments in the trial to raise money, including when he was held in contempt for violating the gag order against him.

"I'd get arrested ONE MILLION TIMES before I'd let those filthy dogs get their hands on you," one typical fundraising appeal read. 

Trump's other criminal cases

The New York case might be the only one of Trump's four criminal prosecutions to reach a conclusion before voters cast their ballots in the fall, giving the guilty verdict added weight.

The two federal cases brought by special counsel Jack Smith remain in limbo. 

In Washington, D.C., Trump faces charges related to his actions to remain in power after the 2016 election. Trump has argued that he is immune from prosecution, and the Supreme Court is currently weighing his claim.

The high court heard arguments in the immunity dispute on April 26 and is expected to issue a decision on the matter before the end of the court's term, likely in June. If the case is allowed to move forward, there is a slim possibility that the district court could schedule the trial before November. If the justices side with Trump and find him immune from prosecution, the charges would be dropped.

In Florida, Trump faces federal charges stemming from his retention of classified documents after he left the White House. Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, has indefinitely postponed the trial. She ruled in early May that picking a trial date would be "imprudent and inconsistent with the court's duty to fully and fairly consider" numerous unresolved pre-trial motions. Those motions include Trump's efforts to dismiss the case altogether, as well as issues related to what classified information can be revealed at trial.

In the third case that remains outstanding, Trump faces state charges related to the 2020 election in Fulton County, Georgia. The trial in that matter is also on hold as Trump seeks to have District Attorney Fani Willis removed from the case. Georgia's Court of Appeals recently granted Trump's appeal of a decision that had allowed her to remain, bringing the trial to a temporary halt.

Trump's two federal cases could largely be in voters' hands if they are not resolved by November, a fact that raises his personal stake in the outcome. If he wins and returns to the White House in January 2025, Trump could order the Justice Department to seek to drop the charges altogether.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all of the criminal cases against him.

  • Donald Trump

More from CBS News

Trump asks to have gag order lifted in New York criminal trial

Some Black Americans find irony in Trump's reaction to guilty verdict

Views of Trump trial unchanged following verdict — CBS News poll

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How Prosecutors Made the Case Against Trump

Over six weeks and the testimony of 20 witnesses, prosecutors wove a sprawling story of election interference and falsified business records.

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Alvin Bragg speaks with several people to his left.

By Kate Christobek

  • May 30, 2024

For years, prosecutors debated, fought and even, in at least two cases, resigned over the fate of the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into Donald J. Trump. Some legal experts predicted it would be the downfall of the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg.

But on Thursday, a jury swiftly and decisively vindicated the risky strategy that Mr. Bragg employed to bring 34 felony counts against the former president.

Prosecutors were helped by state election law, two judges who allowed their novel legal theory to proceed and their ability to make the most of a high-risk witness, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, Michael D. Cohen.

The jury’s verdict — guilty on all 34 felony counts — represented a landmark victory for Mr. Bragg, who claimed a place in history as the first prosecutor to indict, prosecute and convict a former U.S. president.

“I did my job,” he said at a news conference after the verdict. “Our job is to follow the facts without fear or favor and that’s what we did here.”

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The Trump Manhattan Criminal Verdict, Count By Count

Former President Donald J. Trump faced 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, related to the reimbursement of hush money paid to the porn star Stormy Daniels in order to cover up a sex scandal around the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors had to persuade jurors that Mr. Trump had falsified records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened to derail his 2016 presidential campaign. They faced an uphill battle, taking jurors on a complex and winding decade-long journey from a Lake Tahoe, Nev., celebrity golf tournament all the way to the Oval Office.

They were buoyed by the fine print of New York State law. Prosecutors needed to show only that Mr. Trump “caused” the business records to be false, rather than orchestrating the scheme or personally falsifying them.

But to make the case that Mr. Trump’s actions rose to the level of a felony, they also had to show that Mr. Trump falsified the records to conceal a second crime. This element of the case discouraged Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., from moving forward. But Mr. Bragg, a career prosecutor and something of a legal wonk, pushed his prosecutors to scour the penal code for a workable theory.

After months of internal deliberations, Mr. Bragg settled on an argument that Mr. Trump had violated an obscure state election law. This novel and untested theory — applying a state election law to a federal campaign — became fodder for Mr. Trump’s lawyers, who argued that the prosecutors’ case was flimsy at best. Two judges ruled that the prosecutors had legal grounds to pursue the case, but it will also have to withstand an appeal, which Mr. Trump has already indicated he will file.

Over the course of six weeks and the testimony of 20 witnesses, prosecutors wove a sprawling yet granular story of election interference and falsified business records, convincing 12 New Yorkers beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Trump was guilty of felony crimes. They called many of Mr. Trump’s former employees and allies who, as the prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said in his closing argument, had no motive to fabricate their testimony. If anything, he added, they had an incentive to skew it to help the former president.

Their testimony, coupled with thousands of pages of documentary evidence and Mr. Trump’s own words, allowed prosecutors to bolster their case before the jurors heard from two key witnesses whose credibility would be aggressively attacked: Mr. Cohen and the porn actress Stormy Daniels.

“There is, literally, a mountain of evidence of corroborating testimony that tends to connect the defendant to the crime,” Mr. Steinglass said during his closing argument on Tuesday. “It’s difficult to conceive of a case with more corroboration than this one.”

Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors kicked off the testimony on April 22 by calling David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer and a friend of Mr. Trump, to the witness stand. Mr. Pecker spent days testifying to the bigger picture prosecutors were trying to convey: Mr. Trump’s scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Prosecutors described for the jurors the now infamous 2015 meeting in Trump Tower where Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle devised a plot to protect his first presidential campaign. Jurors heard compelling testimony from Mr. Pecker about the scandalous stories he purchased and buried to prevent embarrassment to the Trump campaign, a practice prosecutors referred to as “catch-and-kill.”

While the jurors heard that practice was common in the supermarket tabloid world, prosecutors elicited testimony from Mr. Pecker about how his scheme with Mr. Trump — designed to aid his campaign and influence the election — was extraordinary.

From there, prosecutors methodically revealed the crux of their case: the $130,000 hush-money payment from Mr. Cohen to Ms. Daniels to cover up a sex scandal and the reimbursements to Mr. Cohen that resulted in the fake records.

Hope Hicks, Mr. Trump’s former campaign spokeswoman, described the panic in the Trump campaign just before the 2016 election, following the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Mr. Trump was caught speaking in vulgar terms about women . Keith Davidson, Ms. Daniels’s former lawyer, described how he capitalized on that concern and negotiated with Mr. Cohen to get the hush-money deal for Ms. Daniels. And Jeffrey McConney, the former Trump Organization controller and longtime loyal employee of Mr. Trump, testified about the reimbursement payments to Mr. Cohen.

Other former and current employees followed suit, slowly explained the accounting minutiae and the path of Mr. Cohen’s reimbursements with checks making their way to Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.

Prosecutors corroborated weeks of testimony with documents, recordings, emails, social media posts, phone records and text messages. Notably, jurors saw — several times — a handwritten note from the former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen H. Weisselberg reflecting the details of the repayment plan to Mr. Cohen (which Mr. Steinglass referred to as a “smoking gun”), and heard conversations that Mr. Cohen recorded that demonstrated Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the hush-money deal.

By reading passages of Mr. Trump’s books, prosecutors depicted the former president as a frugal micromanager who always questioned his invoices, distrusted his employees and had a penchant for revenge. Because Mr. Trump decided not to take the stand in his own defense, this image was never rebutted.

By the time Ms. Daniels and Mr. Cohen were called to the witness stand, they needed only to fill in the gaps.

Ms. Daniels painted a vivid picture of what Mr. Trump was trying to hide from voters: a consensual yet uncomfortable sexual encounter in 2006 in a Lake Tahoe, Nev., hotel room, where Ms. Daniels said there was a power “imbalance” between her and Mr. Trump.

Prosecutors portrayed Mr. Cohen as “the ultimate insider” to Mr. Trump and a “tour guide through the physical evidence.” Mr. Cohen described Mr. Trump’s directive to pay off Ms. Daniels (“Just do it,” Mr. Cohen recalled Mr. Trump’s saying) and their meeting in the Oval Office where Mr. Trump confirmed the plan to reimburse him.

Prosecutors were also helped by Mr. Trump’s lawyers’ decision to call to the stand Robert J. Costello, once Mr. Cohen’s informal legal adviser. One of the defense’s two witnesses, Mr. Costello was uneven and irascible on the stand. Outside the presence of the jury, the judge called him “contemptuous.”

In an intense cross-examination, prosecutors portrayed Mr. Costello as an agent of Mr. Trump who tried to prevent Mr. Cohen from cooperating with law enforcement.

It effectively closed the loop on prosecutors’ narrative of Mr. Trump’s conduct. “The name of the game was concealment,” Mr. Steinglass said in his closing argument, “and all roads lead inescapably to the man who benefited most, the defendant, former President Donald Trump.”

Kate Christobek is a reporter covering the civil and criminal cases against former president Donald J. Trump for The Times. More about Kate Christobek

Our Coverage of the Trump Hush-Money Trial

Guilty Verdict : Donald Trump was convicted on all 34 counts  of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened his bid for the White House in 2016, making him the first American president to be declared a felon .

What Happens Next: Trump’s sentencing hearing on July 11 will trigger a long and winding appeals process , though he has few ways to overturn the decision .

Reactions: Trump’s conviction reverberated quickly across the country  and around the world . Here’s what voters , New Yorkers , Republicans , Trump supporters  and President Biden  had to say.

The Presidential Race : The political fallout of Trump’s conviction is far from certain , but the verdict will test America’s traditions, legal institutions and ability to hold an election under historic partisan tension .

Making the Case: Over six weeks and the testimony of 20 witnesses, the Manhattan district attorney’s office wove a sprawling story  of election interference and falsified business records.

Legal Luck Runs Out: The four criminal cases that threatened Trump’s freedom had been stumbling along, pleasing his advisers. Then his good fortune expired .


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    Write a succinct overview of your company. Here is what it should cover: Mission statement and values. Reiterate your mission statement and core values here. Geographic location and areas served. Identify where your offices are located and the geographic areas that you serve. Legal structure and ownership.

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    Executive Summary. Wy'East Law Firm (WLF) is a boutique technology law firm located in Portland, Oregon. The firm will be lead by Richard Bloom, a seasoned attorney previously with (name omitted)'s e-group. WLF will service all needs generated by technology firms, with specialization on mergers and acquisitions and qualified stock option ...

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    law office. business plan worksheet . A Guide to Helping You Write a Business Plan. The purpose of this worksheet is to help you think through some of the important issues of your law office so you have a better understanding of the business side of your practice. Use the worksheet to draft a formal business plan that you can use as a roadmap ...

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