Legal research is the fuel of the legal-services industry. Attorneys, law firms and judges rely on sound research when making legal arguments and deciding legal issues. Starting a legal research business, therefore, may be a lucrative endeavor. Be sure to have sound knowledge of legal research techniques and draft a quality business plan to assist in your startup. Like any new business, you need adequate funding to survive the first few years. Plan carefully and you can make your legal research business work.
Take a course on how to conduct legal research. You need to be an expert or particularly adept at researching in order to start a successful legal research firm.
Draft your business plan. It must detail every key element of your business. Explain what your legal research business will offer, how it will differ from your competition, and how you will finance and staff it. Explain your costs and overhead, and lay out your projected costs and income for the first five years. Develop a marketing plan.
Fund the business. Apply for loans or use your own personal savings to start the business.
File any state-required forms to legally form your business. If you plan on starting a corporation, you need to file the articles of incorporation with your state's Department of Labor. Limited liability companies require you to file an operating agreement. Check with your state's Department of Labor for required forms and fees you must file.
Find a location. If your legal research business is going to primarily use Internet research (from such services as WestLaw or Lexis), you just need enough space for computer terminals and printers. If you plan to amass a library of legal references and research texts, consider a larger space.
Market your legal research business. Visit law firms and offices in your area and introduce yourself. Consider using business cards, postcards and print advertisements to get your name out there.
Staff the business. Your hiring process must focus on individuals who understand legal research. Consider hiring new attorneys, paralegals and other experienced researchers.