How to Write a Successful Business Plan for Solicitors

Posted on 22/9/2020 by Paula Pawlowska

If you've been qualified for quite some time and are considering going for that promotion or applying for a senior associate/partner role, chances are you are going to have to put together a business plan to back up your application. 

This rings particularly true if you're setting up a new department that hasn't dealt with your area of specialism before or if you're joining a big, national firm such as Shoosmiths or Mills & Reeve.

At Realm, we have years of experience of helping senior solicitors with putting together their business plan, offering market insights and providing useful feedback on the viability of their ideas. One tip to always bear in mind is to be as thorough and detailed as possible. 

There are nine sections you should include in your business plan. It's essential that you do your due diligence before putting it together and presenting it to your future employer. 

Personal Profile 

  • Provide an overview of your career to date 
  • Highlight particular achievements 
  • Include financials (i.e. what you have billed in recent years / what amount of your work is self-generated)
  • Set out your current hourly rate

Executive Summary

  • Should act as a summary, setting out key aims for the first year, and how your practice would build in years 2 and 3

Market Observations 

  • An opportunity to provide context as to what is going on in your market 
  • e.g. naming key players/competitors, trends, challenges, opportunities
  • Show you’ve undertaken your due diligence and spotted genuine gaps/opportunities 


  • This is where you set out what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it - if you're proposing to alter your hourly rate, state that here

Target Markets 

  • Set out the market you are going after, whether that be in terms of clients, referrers, or both.

Business Development

  • Set out any WIP that might follow you, indicating the likelihood of this. 
  • Set out work referral sources, indicating frequency/value of work referred and the likelihood of this continuing

Cross Referral Opportunities 

  • Outline any cross-referral opportunities that you have recognised and could be exploited with you onboard

Infrastructure / Resources

  • Outline anything that you will specifically need to execute your plan successfully. If you have any intention of bringing members of your team or would necessarily need to recruit assistance swiftly, it would be sensible to mention it here.


  • Give weight to your proposal by setting out the forecasted revenue for years 1 – 3. If you’re aware of any approximate costs, your package aside, that the firm will need to incur, set them out here

If you would like to download an editable, .doc version of this business template, you can do it here. 

Want to discuss? 

At Realm, we'll work closely with you to develop your career, providing advice and guidance to help you get to where you want to be.

For a confidential chat, get in touch with us today. Call our legal recruitment consultants on 03300 245 606 or visit our website to see our latest legal vacancies in private client, personal injury, property and family law.


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