Deciding to open your own law firm is always exciting. Striking out on your own and becoming a business owner is a huge step forward. But it’s rarely an easy one.
Opening any type of business is a big project requiring research and planning. But in the hyper-competitive legal services industry, this preparation stage is especially pivotal. Everything from setting up your website to choosing the right location for your law firm has to be carefully considered.
Analysis paralysis is common when you’re in this position. You don’t want to make a bad decision that might hurt your business down the road. That’s why we put together this guide on how to choose the best location for your law firm.
Keep reading to learn about the most important factors to consider, plus common pitfalls to avoid.
What’s the Best Place to Have a Law Firm from a Marketing Perspective?
Below, you’ll find:
From a marketing perspective, the best place to have a law firm is in an area that:
- Isn’t saturated with your competitors
- Is densely populated
- Isn’t a home office, virtual office, or shared co-working space
Adhering to these 3 guidelines while choosing the right location for your law firm will make marketing so much easier.
Did you know 76% of people who conduct a local search visit a physical office within the next 24 hours? And more importantly, 28% of those searches turn into paying customers.
So, from a marketing perspective, your law firm should be in an area full of potential clients and far from your established competitors. Long-term, that’ll save you quite a bit of time and money on marketing campaigns.
As for home offices, virtual offices, and shared co-working spaces, avoid these altogether. Google has strict guidelines about which types of locations are allowed to have business profiles. None of these 3 options qualify to have one, making marketing very difficult.
The Most Important Factors When Selecting a Location for Your Law Firm
There’s a lot to consider while choosing the right location for your law firm. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed while weighing all your potential options. As you work through this decision, keep the 3 following factors in mind.
Staying focused on these will make it easier to pick the most accessible, profitable, and marketable option.
1. Your Target Audience
Consider the focus of your practice and the type of clients you’ll attract. Setting up in your city’s business hub would be a great idea if you’re a business attorney, for example.
But don’t stress if you aren’t sure where to find your target clients. Did you know national Small Business Development Centers are funded by your taxes to help you get started? These centers provide free business counseling to small businesses—and that includes your law practice.
Think about your clients’ convenience, too. Picking a location with a parking lot can be crucial, especially in big cities. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and really think about what might set you apart from your competition.
2. Your Competition
Take a close look at where your competitors are located. The legal services industry is extremely competitive no matter what city or town you’re in. And opening your law firm in their neck of the woods will just make things that much harder.
No amount of marketing will help you dethrone a successful, established competitor on the same block.
So, identify areas with a high demand for your type of practice. Then research which of those areas are already covered by your competition. Steering clear of these areas will prevent you from fighting an uphill battle.
3. Local SEO
One of your goals should be winning a slot in Google’s map pack. These are the results potential clients see first when searching things like “lawyer near me.”
You’ll need to harness the power of local SEO to make that happen. And a big part of local SEO is your law firm’s address.
For example, let’s say someone searches for “divorce attorney near me.” If your address is closer to that person’s location than your competitor, Google will show them your address first. But if you’re in close proximity to your competition, you won’t get this leg up.
So, seek out a location near your potential clients and far from other attorneys who share your specialization.
Should My Law Firm Be Near the Courthouse?
Depending on the nature of your practice, it might be wise to open your law firm near the courthouse. Do you anticipate needing to appear in court several times a week? Or maybe you’ll need to show up on short notice?
If either of these scenarios apply to you, looking for a space near the courthouse is a good idea. You’ll save so much time and stress long-term if you don’t have to schlep across town through traffic regularly.
What Should I Avoid When Choosing an Office Location for My Law Firm?
Avoid choosing an office location in the same building as your competitor or a building that has many law firms, if they have a history online that includes a substantial amount of reviews. As mentioned above, you’ll have a hard time winning clients or even getting noticed in these areas.
It’s just the nature of the digital age we’re living in. No matter how much time and effort you pour into your web presence, potential clients won’t find your website amongst your competitors—unless you’re located in a different area.
When choosing the right location for your law firm, consider reputation too. It’s important that your messaging, image, and culture make a great first impression.
If a given location has a reputation for being dangerous, seedy, or run-down, what will your potential clients assume about your services? Avoid these areas.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right location for your law firm is just one of many steps on the stairway to success. And no matter what location you choose, you’ll still need to focus on marketing. You see, “marketing” today means so much more than it ever used to.
Your Google Business Profile, search engine optimization (SEO), and even the design of your website are all considered marketing in this digital age. Customers just don’t respond to traditional ads like they did in years gone by.
According to recent studies, less than half of all consumers find paid ads to be credible.
But you don’t have to sort it all out alone. As law firm marketing experts, we specialize in helping lawyers like you cut through the noise and reach their ideal clients.
Just contact us today if you’re ready to focus on your practice while we handle the rest!