Have you decided to become your own boss and thus open your own law firm? This approach requires conditions. We give you important information to know before starting your practice in this article.
Which degree to open a law firm?
You must have a Masters 1 or 2 in Law in addition to the CAPA (Certificate of Qualification for the Profession of Lawyer). If you want to practice as a specialist, you will also need to justify a specialization (mentioned on the certificate or diploma).
In addition to a diploma in order to practice as a lawyer, certain obligations must be respected. Among other things, you must be of French or European nationality (except in exceptional cases) and be registered with the bar on which your firm depends.
You should not have gone bankrupt and a clean criminal record is essential. You must agree to respect the ethical rules of the profession and not to conduct any business activity in parallel.
What is the legal status for opening a law firm?
If you want to open a law firm then you will not be able to practice as an auto-entrepreneur. You must choose a legal form as a company:
- A SEL, SELAS, SELARL, SELAFA or SELCA:
- a SARL, SAS or SCA;
- Or a SPE.
Each position has its share of advantages and disadvantages, but they all have in common that they can easily be adapted to a project that involves multiple collaborators. To choose the best structure, we invite you to consult our comparative table of common law legal situations or our article on legal situations for liberal businesses.
You can also go to a legaltech like legalstart where you will find all the information you need.
Once you have chosen your legal framework, you will need to choose a business address. Find out the best domicile solutions for lawyers in our dedicated article.
What are the formalities to open a law firm?
To open a law firm, all your formalities should be addressed to URSSAF which is your management center. The steps to be taken depend on the situation you choose.
With regard to the choice of the name of your law firm, we recommend you to check on the INPI website that the name chosen is not listed. It is mandatory for both the natural and legal person of your firm to register on the roll of their bar. A copy of this registration will be required when creating your practice.
If you wish to form a commercial company, you must send the documents to the Registry of the Commercial Court of the place of registered office of your prospective firm. Of these, M0, P0 (EI) or P2 (EIRL) forms, your declaration of association as well as power of attorney and non-guilty and filing.
Lastly, you’ll need to take out professional insurance and hire an auditor if necessary (depending on the form of company you choose). Among other things, procurement of regulatory books like register of meetings, journal and inventory book, personnel register will also be part of the things to be planned.
3 tips for opening your own law firm
define your strategy
Defining your strategy is a fundamental element. This will allow you to define your customer strategy. We advise you to highlight your advantages over the competition. Indeed, to win an individual client, you have to show your difference from other firms. You should specialize not in one area of law, but in a specific type of customer, such as, for example, clothing store customers.
To find your first clients, we recommend that you use your professional network through LinkedIn publications or integrations with a professional association. Be careful not to forget that the purpose of your marketing actions is to attract customers and not your fellow lawyers. You can also use general media such as social networks, websites, newsletters or speaking at media conferences.
create a business plan
Establishing a business plan is essential to the success of your project. A business plan is a document presenting your company’s strategy as well as all financial projections. This will allow you to see if your project is financially viable. It will also be a valuable document that you will need for any financial process.
Two things are essential when you realize your business plan. The first is that you need to calculate the expenses required to start your activity, and this, per month. Be careful not to leave out all the little expenses that can sometimes be forgotten such as supplies, insurance, web hosting or accounting services.
Secondly, you will need to estimate the required turnover so that you can generate the minimum and ideal remuneration. This will allow you to determine the level of investment you will need to be able to hold before making a profit.
Choose a Strategic Location
The choice of your location is very strategic as it is what will determine your customers. Before choosing your location, we recommend you to study the local market. You will be able to estimate the number of potential customers, the level of competition and your forecast business.
Ideally, the court should have a campus. Still, because of the high cost of real estate near the courts, it can be difficult to access. We recommend it as an option for you to limit your costs at the start of settling in your home or renting an area shared by many lawyers. However, be sure to follow the rules of ethics.
questions to ask
What is the legal status for a law firm?
A law firm can have sole proprietorship or EIRL status and all types of commercial companies except SCI and SCA. In addition, specific forms for eclectic businesses such as SEL, SCP and AARPI are possible for you.
What is the budget for opening a law firm?
Without input, it is nearly impossible to open an exercise. On average, the average price to open a law firm is €7,000.
Is it necessary to be a graduate to open a law firm?
If you want to open a law firm without a lawyer, it is prohibited. You must have a Masters 1 or 2 in Law in addition to the CAPA (Certificate of Qualification for the Profession of Lawyer).