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Starting a Law Firm – Niche or General Practice?

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This is a question that plagues all attorneys who are thinking about going out on their own. Should they open their practice and accept everything that walks into the office or focus on one primary area of law (and maybe even a sub area of that primary area)? The decision is an important one, as it will have a lasting impact on the future of your firm.

Before I get too far, I’ll admit that there isn’t any right answer. I think you could probably go either way to start. But, I also think eventually you’ll start to drift toward a specific decision. And I should know. I’m a Bellevue DUI lawyer. And yes, as the name implies, I’ve decided to go the niche route (and at the end of the day I think that’s where you’ll end up).

There are several reasons I think a niche practice is better than a general practice. First, it allows you to define and market to a target audience. If you know who will be using your services, it’s much easier to put yourself where they can find you. Second, it impliedly gives you more credibility. Someone that only does DUIs is probably going to be thought of as having more expertise than someone who bills themselves as a general¬†practitioner. And third, and finally, you can charge more for your services, again, going back to the idea that you really know what you are talking about in this one area, have a better grasp of it, and bring more to the table when executing it.

And this doesn’t just apply to DUI defense attorneys. No matter what area of law you are practicing in, the more clearly you can define what it is you do the more likely you are to understand who your client is and how you can help them. It will also lesson the burden on you as a practicing attorney. You won’t have to try to keep up with the new developments in all of the areas of law. You can focus on one and become great at it.

In the end, a niche practice is the only way to go. Start however you want, but my guess is, if you are successful, you’ll find yourself focused on one specific area of the law.

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