Mindmapping the Process of Starting a Law Firm

As you may know, I’m a new fan of the art of the chart, i.e., the use of graphic depictions to convey an explanation.  Today, thinking about all of the decisions that go into opening a law firm, I decided to attempt a Mind Map of the process.  It’s more complex than I thought, but below is my first attempt (click on the Mindmeiser logo to go to the full map):



  1. Larry Brown on November 22, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    You have clearly put a lot of work into this. I like it. I am more of a visual learner myself, and these things really help me. Thanks.

  2. Victor Medina on November 23, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Got it to work somehow, but I thought I’d offer a substantive point instead of being an Internet dweeb hating on everything.
    I think this chart needs a dedicated branch for business development. I think it’s one of the most crucial decisions that goes into opening a law firm. Of course, I understand the “where am I going to get the business?” question is intrinsic to the decision. But, I think it’s valuable to set those thoughts as important as deciding on office space. For instance, what marketing are you going to do? Blogging, static website, Google AdWords? Who is going design this site for you? What face-to-face networking are you going (to be able to afford) to do? Etc.
    Thoughts? VJM

  3. Carolyn Elefant on November 23, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    You are 100 percent right. All of the business related decisions are critical and need to be addressed contemporaneously to starting a firm. I should have clarified, that this chart (at least this iteration) was intended to just focus on the implementation issues, with the assumption that much of the business planning had taken place. After all, business decisions (e.g., where will you get clients, who are target clients) will inform your decisions about office location, practice management tools (e.g., if you are working with a population that uses computers & is high tech, you probably want some kind of online client interface. It may not be as critical for other types of practices; if you want to rent space, do you need to be next door to the city court if your clients would prefer easy parking access in a suburb).
    Ultimately, I would love to make this chart more multi-level, with another one for the business planning/marketing ideas that you suggest and somehow have the relationships tagged between them.

  4. Victor Medina on November 23, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Fair enough. Still, I think that some of this stuff should be included here. Assuming one has made the threshold decision to blog for business, then choosing a blog designer, hosting company, identifying the blogs to follow/read/comment are important implementation steps. On the other hand, if someone is going to eschew Internet marketing for newspaper ads, then selecting a designer for a logo, selecting the paper(s) to advertise in, etc. also become important implementation steps.
    I agreed that this is best as a practical reference point for blending checklist and decisional tasks; I was just noting the absence of bizdev-type steps.

  5. Timothy J. Evans on November 24, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Another factor to consider for practice mgt software is what OS do you use. Those of us who use macs, admittedly, have fewer choices of apps that can run natively.

  6. Dana Yaffee on December 6, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Hi Carolyn,
    I have played with mind mapping before and found it very useful to have branches under each heading with key items highlighted. Would that be the kind of multi-level layering you were thinking of? Also, would you have a section on office procedures such as forms for clients, forms for files, and filing procedures which can apply to hard copy as well as paperless offices? Just curious as that is one of my pet peeves in running my practice.

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