Every year, thousands of law school graduates and scores of experienced lawyers open their own law firms. Many attorneys find the income opportunities to be greater with their own firm since more of the revenue comes to them, not a larger firm’s partners.
An SBA loan can help get your law firm off the ground or expand your existing practice. In addition, it can be used to buy office equipment and supplies, refinance debt, or even purchase a competitor’s practice.
Benefits of owning a law firm
The biggest benefit of owning a law firm is the potential for a high income. For example, the average annual earnings for a medical lawyer in the United States is just under $150,000, and over $100,000 for a trial attorney. Of course, income will vary by the area of law you practice and your firm’s location.
The legal industry is also very satisfying. Being a lawyer is one of the most prestigious jobs in America, and there are always people needing your services. You can also bring on other attorneys as you grow your practice and share in the revenue they generate.
How to obtain financing to open, expand, or buy a law firm
If you’re looking for law firm financing, consider applying for an SBA loan. The various loan programs offered by the Small Business Administration can help provide the funding you need to set up your business.
The SBA is a government agency that doesn’t lend you the money directly. Instead, it guarantees a significant portion of your loan. That lowers the risk profile for SBA’s lending partners, which include conventional banks and financial institutions, so they’re more willing to approve loan requests.
You also must put significantly less cash or equity down to qualify with an SBA loan. And, with an SBA loan, no covenants or collateral is required.
The most common SBA law firm loans include the SBA 7(a) and Express loans.
SBA 7(a) loan for starting or buying a law firm
The 7(a) is the preferred SBA loan for law firms. You can use the funds made available through this program to purchase property, expand your office, open a new office, or even purchase a competitor’s practice.
If you own an existing law firm and want to buy out a partner, you can utilize the funds from an SBA 7(a) loan for that purpose.
The maximum SBA loan for a law firm is $5 million and are generally repaid with monthly payments that include interest.
The payment stays the same for fixed-rate loans since the interest rate is locked in. However, for variable rate loans, it’s up to the lender to request a different payment amount if the interest rate changes.
SBA Express Loans for law firms
SBA Express Loans are a part of the agency’s 7(a) loan program. Up to $500,000 can be borrowed under an Express loan. The approval times are typically much faster for these loans.
Express loans over $25,000 have a collateral requirement. The SBA usually responds to Express loan applications within 36 hours.
The lenders ultimately make all eligibility and credit decisions. The market prime rate plus 4.5-6% interest is applied with repayment terms of up to 10 years.
How to apply for an SBA law firm loan
Access our network of SBA lenders that includes leading nationwide banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Our lending partners are experienced in handling applications for law firms, so they will diligently pursue your opportunity.
There are countless SBA approved lenders that are ready to offer you a law firm SBA loan. These are just some of the top lenders:
|Rank||Bank||City||State||# of Loans||Avg Loan $||Avg Interest|
|2||The Huntington National Bank||Columbus||OH||67||$273,464||5.5%|
|3||Wells Fargo||Sioux Falls||SD||47||$440,162||6.6%|
|6||First Home Bank||Saint Petersburg||FL||23||$248,222||6.3%|
|8||Five Star Bank||Rancho Cordova||CA||20||$195,350||6.1%|
|10||JPMorgan Chase Bank||Columbus||OH||19||$356,484||6.2%|