How to Start a Law Firm in New York

Many attorneys graduate law school with the dream of going into practice for themselves. Others, who are faced with the exceedingly difficult and competitive job market in New York, do so out of necessity when unable to obtain employment with a major law firm. Whatever your reasons, opening your own law practice can be challenging but highly rewarding. Knowing where to start can simplify the process greatly and make it a much less stressful task.

Things You'll Need
Malpractice Insurance
Advertising Materials
Office Space
Professional Business Cards
Obtain the necessary education. In order to practice law in the state of New York, you are required to pass what is called a bar exam. This is a licensing exam that shows that you are proficient in the field of law and are qualified to practice law in your given jurisdiction. In order to pass the exam, it will be necessary for you to obtain the education required to perform the job. You will want to start by obtaining a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as criminal justice through an accredited college or university and then follow that with a Juris Doctor degree in law from an accredited law school.

Obtaining the proper education will prepare you to take your bar exam.
Obtaining the proper education will prepare you to take your bar exam.
After completing your Juris Doctorate, take the New York State Bar Examination. Taking and passing the state bar examination is a requirement before practicing law in any state and New York is no exception. Once you have successfully passed the bar exam, you will obtain the licensing necessary to practice law in the State of New York.

Taking and successfully passing the New York State Bar Examination is a requirement before setting up your legal practice.
Taking and successfully passing the New York State Bar Examination is a requirement before setting up your legal practice.
Choose your corporate structure. Talk to a licensed accountant about the options and tax consequences in regards to your options as a corporation or LLC and choose which option is best for you.

Choosing the right tax structure is crucial.
Choosing the right tax structure is crucial.
Obtain office space. The most budget friendly option is a virtual office. This will work especially well until you are able to expand and hire employees. In New York, several companies will provide you with a Manhattan address, telephone receptionist service and voice mail. If you need to meet clients, the New York City bar association has conference rooms that you can book for a nominal fee. Once your practice takes off, you can invest in a brick and mortar office space to accommodate your growing needs.

A virtual office can be a cost saving option until your business takes off.
A virtual office can be a cost saving option until your business takes off.
Open bank accounts in your business name. This is a requirement for tax purposes, so that you are not depositing business profits or client funds into your own personal account.

Obtain malpractice insurance. It's not mandatory in New York, but is is very highly recommended. This insurance will protect you and your business should you ever be sued for malpractice. It can generally be obtained at a fairly reasonable cost and the price is well worth the piece of mind.

Read the fine print on any malpractice insurance policies you obtain.
Read the fine print on any malpractice insurance policies you obtain.
Advertise your business. You will want to get professional business cards printed that clearly display your name and contact information. Investing in a small advertisement in the local telephone directory and building your own business website are also a must.

Advertise your business with professional business cards.
Advertise your business with professional business cards.
Open your doors. You are now ready to begin working in your own law firm!

Sucess!
Sucess!