How To Set Up A Law Firm

If you are looking to set up a law firm in the UK then speak to our experienced consultants who are on hand to help you every step of the way. We can help you set up a law firm wherever you are based.

Small start-up practices are on the rise, with lawyers setting up law firms across the country who are attracted to the benefits of being self-employed and the potential to profit directly from their own hard work, instead of working to demanding targets and lining other business owner’s pockets.

All this sounds very desirable however, setting up and running a successful law firm is no easy feat. Here at Marketing Lawyers, we are experienced in advising established law firms and supporting them to achieve their objectives. Taking all the experience and knowledge you can at the start and throughout your business journey will help you avoid pitfalls and find the best plan of action quickly.

Our team of consultants include experienced, chairmen, board members and owners of law firms. Their experience is useful for all aspects of setting up a firm in the quickest and most efficient way.

Free initial 30-minute discussion

We are friendly and down to earth. We love speaking to people looking to set up on their own and we provide a no obligation, free initial discussion to explain how we can assist you in setting up. Call us on 0115 8700 443 or email

Client Testimonials

"Really helped me launch Theodorous. Excellent team and I'm very grateful. Will use again!"
Paris Theodorou - Law Firm Owner

"Starting a law firm can be a harrowing affair. I had notions of an application form to the SRA and a process that would be straight forward. This is true in the sense that the application form is easy enough to fill out, but in retrospect the supporting documentation that we needed to provide, extra to what the SRA requested, is something that can only be gathered with guidance and support. Ben and Alex helped us submit a complete application, saving the back and forth with the SRA. If we had not submitted the evidence that Ben and Alex had suggested, I imagine we would still be engaged in the application process. From submission to acceptance in 4 weeks is proof that Ben and Alex are extremely confident in their work.

Reed and Co Solicitors will always be thankful for the service provided by Marketing Lawyers and I would highly recommend them to any law firm starting out.

James Reed - Solicitor & Law Firm Owner

"Ben was very helpful and has a lot of insider knowledge on setting up law a law firm. The consultation on setting up a law firm was impeccable. The team are very friendly and like other reviews do go above beyond"
Luis - Solicitor

"My colleague and I have recently used Marketing Lawyers to assist with the launch of our specialist family law firm, NE Family Law. Both Alex and Ben were amazing at helping us navigate and prepare our application to the SRA for authorisation, they were highly knowledgeable and have in depth knowledge of the legal industry. They were always quick to answer our many questions on process and procedure, their assistance in preparing our supporting documents was invaluable in smoothing the path. We also used the Marketing Lawyers team to build our website, we are thrilled with the end result and again were impressed with their insight and professionalism. We would not hesitate in recommending them and will be using them to assist with a marketing strategy in future months"
Emma Post - Solicitor & Law Firm Owner

"A fantastic law firm set up service offered by Ben and Alex. They have the extensive knowledge to ensure that the set up is succesful with the SRA. In addition, they have the resources to pull together a complete service ranging from PII to tender processes. They made a stressful scenario a walk in the park!! Thank you."

Jason Patel - Solicitor & Law Firm Owner

"Marketing Lawyers have been priceless. I read the reviews and approached them. From the outset they have been extremely helpful, going above and beyond my expectations. Not only do they have abundant knowledge in their specialist field, but they are friendly and extremely diligent and efficient. The process is not an easy one and where I was initially tempted to make the application myself, I am so happy that I chose to pass it onto complete professionals who are worth every penny."

Reza Pashazadeh - Solicitor & Law Firm Owner

"Fantastic service from start to finish with Alex and Ben. Really knowledgeable and communicative. Made a daunting process a lot easier. Thanks very much!."

Simon Nicolaides - Solicitor & Law Firm Owner

Save Time & Seek Expertise

Depending on the amount of help you require, we offer different levels of support. We offer a range of packages and we also offer a 'complete regulatory assistance' plan which helps you all the way through the process, which can include building a website, branding and setting up emails.

We have recently setup firms specialising in:

  • Personal Injury
  • Private client
  • Crime
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Family
  • Litigation
  • Legal aid
  • Landlord and tenant
  • etc

We Also Offer a Document Review Service

We can review your key documents before you submit them as well. The price depends on the number of documents you'd like reviewing. Contact us above for a bespoke quote.

Checklist - Points to consider

Before you embark on this process and you should consider the following:

  • Do you have at least 3 years PQE? (Ideally 5 years for reasonable insurance quotes)
  • Do you have any SRA sanctions or current investigations that may hinder your application?
  • How is the initial setup going to be funded? Do you have enough funds for the setup, PII, and to cover personal outgoings for 4-6 months?
  • You should also consider the cost of other insurance that may be relevant.
  • Do you have any restrictive covenants in your current contract?
  • Will the firm be lawyer-owned or an alternative business structure (ABS)?

Setup and support

It can seem overwhelming when considering all the different requirements needed when starting the process of setting up your law firm. You should be considering some of the following areas from the outset:

  • Agreeing on management and compliance responsibilities
  • Establishing a dialogue with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
  • Writing a business plan
  • Identify competition and market gaps
  • Speaking to the bank about your business plan
  • Allocating a third of your time to management and compliance
  • Checking if ‘loyal’ clients will actually instruct the new firm
  • Identifying a network for legal work you cannot complete
  • Sourcing PII quotes
  • Planning to market the firm at launch and into the future
  • Having an exit plan

It is advised by many to use consultants to cover the areas of skills that you may not have, so you have the highest chance of business success. It's often daunting trying to find out all the information you need to set up your firm. We save you time and money by taking the worry off your hands. 

It is important to decide what type of business practice you wish to operate. Will it be a recognised sole practice, traditional partnership, ABS, limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited company? We can advise you about these and the alternatives if required.

The applications you can make include:

  • Recognised Sole Practice
  • Recognised Body
  • Licensed Body (ABS)

How long does it take to set up?

That really depends on how quickly you want to move. Often individuals or teams will have notice periods to consider. If people are going to be working from home, then physical premises don't need to be arranged and so things can happen quite quickly. We say it takes 3-4 months from instructing us depending on the speed of response from the SRA. We can move as quickly as you'd like and if everything is in order, the SRA can respond quite quickly to applications (on occasion in a matter of weeks).

Do consider you may need to do some online training if you haven't had any experience in running a firm or in taking on the COLP or COFA role before.

How much will my PII insurance cost?

This depends on the turnover and sector. Usually, it's somewhere between 4-7% of turnover. For smaller start-up practices it's often at the lower level, depending on the risk level of the work being taken on.

We have contact with brokers who can help you receive a quote.

Case Studies

We helped an individual set up a law firm specialising in private criminal defence and civil litigation. The client wanted to work from home in the main and needed support with the business planning all the way up to seeking SRA authorisation. We took care of everything and from submitting the application to authorisation it only took 3 weeks.

We helped a client who had a valid insurance quote for PII but needed help with the SRA authorisation application. The client wanted to set up a personal injury and consumer law firm. We managed to sort the paperwork in just over a week and even with the Christmas and New Year period we received authorisation in 6 weeks from submission.

We recently assisted an individual in setting up a law firm specialising in private immigration law. Initially, the client started the planning process independently but realised they needed expert guidance and support and approached us for assistance.
We worked closely with the client to understand their vision, goals, and objectives for the business. We provided expert guidance in developing a comprehensive business plan, navigating regulatory requirements, and seeking SRA authorisation.
Our team took care of everything, including submitting the application, liaising with the SRA, and ensuring compliance with all regulations.
Thanks to our expertise and efficient processes, the entire process, from submitting the application to obtaining SRA authorisation, took just over 3 weeks. The client was delighted with the outcome and quick turnaround time and praised our team's efficiency.


In order to sell yourself and the services you offer, you will need a website building with tailored content that engages your prospects. It may seem like a lot of hard work getting the content written, however, we can help with our tailored copywriting service.

You are becoming a legal entrepreneur, which means there are a lot of non-legal tasks you'll need to do to run the firm, some of the areas you can outsource and we work with a network of suppliers. This means you can focus on fee-earning and driving the business forward whilst the admin and regulatory tasks are taken care of.

Work will often require marketing and business development effort. Fortunately, the online market can help deliver new leads and clients. A great website, good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns can give you a competitive advantage over even more established competitors. We are specialists in providing these services and many more to guide you each step of the way.

Depending on how many partners there will be in the business there will be a need for clarity around certain roles. Who will take the role of Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and for Finance and Administration (COFA)? The COLP and COFA should be champions of risk management and compliance within a firm and will have responsibility for the firm's systems and controls. Who will keep up to date with requirements such as compliance with anti-money laundering laws? And what will be the arrangements for supervision and training? We can provide support and guidance in these key compliance areas.

We can help you create a viable business plan that is vital for developing the new firm for the longer term. It should be based on there being a sustainable and growing market for your services in which you are confident that you can compete in your area of work.

We provide management and marketing advice to a host of small, medium and large law firms across the country. Therefore you'll benefit from our market knowledge and best practice recommendations. We also have IT consultants who work with law firms who can advise on the best set up and systems.

Start Your Set Up Today

If you'd like to start the ball rolling on the steps to starting your law firm, call or email us today. We can discuss the next steps and outline the costs involved in setting up. Don't worry, all your information will be kept strictly confidential.

Further considerations 

The software you use is a key element to a successful business. Keeping clients happy and making money go hand-in-hand via the establishment of suitable case management and filing system (CMS), which allows for clients to be billed regularly and in a timely manner for work as it is done.

In addition, our bespoke Customer Relation Management (CRM) software is a powerful tool that can help your law firm grow and it can be connected into your case management system. It is used by small and large firms to keep track of their potential clients, which all leads to closing more deals, more efficiently.

There is a lot more to setting up a firm than most individuals initially think. We're here to guide you through those tasks including assisting with: a realistic business plan for your business and cash flow, helping find indemnity cover, SRA registration, VAT registration, employment contracts, risk and compliance systems and premises.

Setting up and running a law firm can be challenging, yet extremely rewarding for those who are determined and seek the right advice and support.

We can assist with a wide range of services which include but are not limited to:

  • Seeking Authorisation
  • Business Plans
  • COLP & COFA Training
  • Financial Forecasts
  • IT support including cloud-based solutions and CRM systems.
  • Connections to Professional Indemnity Brokers & Suppliers
  • Marketing
  • Office manuals
  • Website setup
  • Website marketing (Digital Marketing)

Time is often limited when you are thinking of setting up, so feel free to speak to our consultants about our affordable setup and support packages. We understand that initially, it can be quite confusing and complex which is why we are here to take the worry off your hands. We may refer you to consultants or other firms for specific pieces of work due to their niche expertise. All the work we will do will be agreed upon from the start as you may require help with only certain tasks.

Listen to our latest law firm start-up podcast:

Ben Trott, Managing Director at Marketing Lawyers, recently caught up with Neil Pointon, Divisional Director within the Solicitors PI team at Howdens to highlight some key law firm set up issues that are often overlooked.

How to get in contact

For a no-obligation, free initial discussion to see how we can assist and for a quote, please call us on 0115 8700443 or email

Key Contacts

Ben Trott

Managing Director

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Alex Trott

Senior Account Manager

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