Thinking of diving into the world of immigration law in the Great White North, eh? Starting an immigration law practice in Canada can be extremely rewarding once you get it off the ground, but like most businesses, it isn’t always easy. In this guide we’ll outline the first 3 things you should do to get started.
Step 1: Getting Your Legal Ducks in a Row
Before you can help people immigrate, you’ve got to make your own immigration into the legal world official. Here’s your checklist:
- Legal Structure for Your Practice: Decide how you want to set up your law practice. You’ve got options like going solo, partnering up, or incorporating. Get some advice from a legal professional based on your situation. Many start out as sole proprietors, but again, depending on your situation it might make more sense to incorporate or take a different route.
- Meet Legal Requirements: Make sure you meet all the requirements to practice law based on a few things, like your designation (lawyer, consultant, etc.), the province you’re practicing in, any applicable insurance and others.
- Money Matters: Get your finances in order. Even if you start as a sole proprietor, it’s ideal to get a separate bank account and bookkeeping system to manage your cash flow, expenses, and taxes.
Step 2: Create an Online Presence
You’ll want to create a strong enough online presence so that once you start marketing your firm, it looks “legitimate” enough even if you don’t have any clients (yet). Here’s how:
Website: Create a very basic website that covers the basics, like:
- A basic intro on you, your firm and why you started it
- A menu of your services, including what kind of immigration applications you can help with
- A blog section where you can share your knowledge and stay on top of immigration changes
- Contact info and a clear way for prospective clients to reach out to you
Create accounts on a few social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Share your wisdom, connect with folks, and join in conversations with helpful tips and advice where you can.
Also make a content creation strategy, otherwise it’s easy to forget about it or let it get pushed to the bottom of your list. Pick 2-3 of your favorite social media platforms and make a plan of how many times you’re going to post per week – and stick to it!
Step 3: Promoting Your Practice
Getting your practice off the ground can be difficult in the early days before you have a steady stream of clients and referrals. To get start:
- Network: Attend legal events, conferences, and immigration gatherings. Join local legal groups and national associations. It’s all aboot building relationships that lead to referrals and partnerships.
- Online Presence, Round 2: Dive into online forums and groups where folks talk immigration. Be the friendly expert who answers questions and shares advice.
- Shout it from the Mountaintops: Encourage happy clients to leave reviews on your website and social media. It’s like giving your online presence a shot of hot cocoa.
- Partner Up: Think about teaming up with other professionals that provide related services (think real estate, accounting, etc.) to help spread the word of each others services.
Starting an immigration law practice in Canada isn’t rocket science, but it will still take some effort and patience to get started. With these steps – from setting up your legal structure to embracing marketing strategies and getting your name out there – you’ll be on your way to success. Remember, in the world of Canadian immigration law, kindness, expertise, and a good sense of humor will go a long way.
Good luck, and make sure you’re signed up to the Visto email list for monthly emails on immigration updates, tips and more!