Thinking about starting my own firm. What is a realistic startup budget if I plan on working from home for the first year at least?

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We started our practice with about $500 (2 person firm). First year was rough, but this second year we’re projected to make $200k. We mainly do business, family law and employment

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We got lucky with our first two employment matters. We were able to settle them pre-lit and brought in some money for the firm. But our other two practice areas help to pay the bills in the mean time.

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I’m two months into this adventure. Practice area notwithstanding, budget/save a year’s worth of operating expenses from the outset. I’m a small litigation practice, so major expenses for me are practice management software, westlaw/Lexis, and insurance. Add in website and email platform and that should be enough to get started.

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There aren’t successful solos who’ve started with a few hundred dollars. Costs have come down substantially. You can start earning enough to cover your costs 2-3 months in.

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A3: You didn’t ask me, but I think Fastcase is now robust enough that it’s sufficient for most of your legal research needs. One of my state bar associations provides the full version as a member benefit.

If you have to pay for it yourself, it’s $95/month or $995/year, Still a good deal IMO.

You also should consider the amount you expect to bring in from current clients that opt to follow you to your new practice. That helped me in the beginning months a lot. You'll be surprised how many people go with you.

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I moved 7k from personal to business when I started. It helped with those early costs. In the end, I didn’t even need that much, but that depends on three factors 1) practice area; 2) clients; 3) whether you need to worry about living expenses when you’re considering your budget. Obviously, question 3 will radically dictate how much you need to have.

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I, too, am curious about the practice area. There are certain areas (e.g., criminal defense or family law) where I wouldn’t want the client even knowing my home address, let alone visiting me there.

Other areas, like appellate litigation, it can be done. I know a guy who’s done well with this… his home is “Suite 2” instead of “Apartment 2” for business mail.

There are some other options, like subletting a spare office from another firm, a Regus-type office (dedicated or “virtual”), or even making “house calls.”

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What practice area? Do a search of prior posts, too, because this question gets asked a lot.

Different practice areas will have different costs associated with them.

$1k per month should be plenty.

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