Finding the Legal Needs in Your Community
A good place to start is with the information available from local, state and federal government. The US Census through the American Community Survey provides data on household income, age distribution, education levels and languages spoken as well as information on area businesses and geography. These facts can help you decide what areas of law are needed. For example, if the population is aging, elder law may be the right choice while a rise in birth rates could foreshadow more family and juvenile law needs.
If your area has a large number of immigrants such as Spanish speakers and you want to attract that business, you might add a bi-lingual lawyer and translate a portion of your website to Spanish.
To find your community’s’ business needs, check your local Chamber of Commerce directory for local listings. Businesses wishing to use an assumed name must file with the County Clerk who periodically posts those new business listings on-line. If your community has a number of new businesses, it may be you want to focus more of your legal practice on their issues, such as taxation, business plans or other business transactions. If there are a number of writers or publishers, adding intellectual property could bring in new business.
If new industries are coming into the community that will be hiring more employees, there could be a need for an employment or worker’s compensation lawyer. Crime statistics are important to those wishing to practice criminal law.
When there are a number of local, county, village and city communities in an area, there is a need for a municipal lawyer who can help with a wide range of issues, including everything from police power, zoning, education policies, and property taxes. A look at the map of your area and a check on the websites of the municipalities will give you the information you need.
Volunteering at local events, sitting on Boards of corporations and non-profits or doing Pro Bono work through your local Legal Service organizations is a way to give back as well as learn more about your community. Listening to the citizens will enable you to learn of their concerns.
Whether you plan to add a new service or are just starting out, spending time researching the composition your community and assessing the resultant legal needs will enable you to make well-reasoned plans for 2106.