You may be looking to grow your law firm in the new year by taking on a new area of the law, like bankruptcy. Or, you may be just starting to build a new law practice.
Focusing on bankruptcy law can help you bring in lots of new clients, especially while we’re facing an economic downturn and more people will be in need of debt relief. But do you know how to start a bankruptcy practice? Here are some pointers for how to start a law firm and focus on bankruptcy law.
Why start a bankruptcy law firm?
Bankruptcy law is a fairly straightforward and predictable area that allows you to help people in need of a fresh financial start. Be there for clients who are struggling to get out from under their mounds of debt.
It’s also a great time to pick up bankruptcy law. Whenever the economy is in trouble, more people get into burdensome debt, whether personally or in their business. This trend leads to an eventual wave of bankruptcy cases.
The year 2020 caused huge financial impacts, causing record-setting numbers of unemployment claims, small business closures, and lay-offs. As these numbers only continue to build as COVID-19 is still surging, the number of bankruptcies for individuals and businesses is expected to reach a peak in the months and years ahead.
How to start practicing bankruptcy law
Next, let's discuss starting your own law firm. Remember that it will take the right balance of business and law knowledge. But starting your own practice gives you lots of flexibility and control, and you can choose what clients you want to work with. Make sure you have clear goals for your practice and create a vision – why are you creating a law practice and how are you different from other attorneys?
You’ll then have to figure out your pricing structure (which takes lots of market research for your location), communication methods, workspace and location, and overall business model.
Next up we’ll discuss how to start advertising your bankruptcy law firm.
Marketing for lawyers
Of course, you won’t be able to attract new bankruptcy clients without the right marketing approach. Where do you begin?
The first step is creating a strategy. This requires researching your target audience and learning:
- Where they look for legal services
- What online outlets they frequent
- What factors drive bankruptcy clients to choose a lawyer
Improving your online presence is a must for your new law firm. Make sure you include the right goals in your strategy that will include:
- Social media: Focus on posting regular content (images, video, blog posts, polls) on all your channels that will engage your target audience.
- Website: You need a dynamic yet simple website where people can learn more about you and your offerings.
- Attorney directory: Many legal clients now find help via an online directory, where you can showcase your qualifications and experience. Consider joining Modern Attorney to connect with more bankruptcy clients in your area in an instant.
Another option is to work with a marketing agency like Postali, which specializes in legal marketing for law firms. They can take on all of the marketing work so you can focus on growing your new practice.
What software to use
Next will be gathering the right tools so your practice is efficient. Legal bankruptcy software will give you case management and automation tools that will help you stay organized and better collaborate with other people. Use software that lives in the cloud so you and your clients can always access information no matter where you are.
NextChapter is a cloud-based application for bankruptcy attorneys that helps you streamline your practice and improve client communication. Case management tools and features like credit report integration and court notice organization helps you ensure documents are accurate. The Chapter 13 Package includes everything you need to prepare and file Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases online.
Using a tool like NextChapter will help you make sure your bankruptcy practice is set up for success right away.
Hiring paralegals for intake and admin
Another consideration for your new bankruptcy law practice is how to get an extra hand on your cases. Hiring a paralegal will free up a lot of your time so you can focus on your clients and the business while an experienced professional takes on data entry and administrative tasks.
Now more than ever you may want to work with a virtual paralegal who helps you manage your cases from a remote location. You can hire paralegals via Paralegal as a Service from NextChapter and work with them only on a case-by-case basis. This is a cost-effective way to get the extra help you need with your bankruptcy cases. These legal professionals will also bring lots of industry knowledge to the table to help you start your practice.
Communicating with clients
Finally, set up a strategy for client communication. How will you consult with them? Where will meetings be held? Will you offer features like texting?
Modern clients love the option to meet with you over the phone or via video conference. You can also let them know that you’re open to travel to them or meet at a coffee shop. Providing these options gives them more flexibility and they’ll feel more comfortable working with you.
Client texting is another way to stay supportive of your bankruptcy clients. Next Message from NextChapter allows your clients to reach you at an assigned local number through the system, so you never have to give out your personal phone number. You receive an email every time they text you and can stay in touch at all times if necessary.
Starting a bankruptcy practice will allow you to help more clients in need and give you the flexibility to create the kind of law firm you want to run. Take these tips into consideration so you can market to the right people, use the right software, hire paralegals, and improve client communication.