Earning 1 lakh per month is the dream of many lawyers. I want to tell you that it is a very achievable target, especially if you work for yourself. You will need skills, you will need to know how to get clients, you will have to hustle, but it is totally doable.
There are hundreds of ways to get there. The major reason many lawyers take too long to get there or never get there is a lack of clarity. They do not pursue a definite strategy. They do not focus their energy on getting a certain kind of work and being good at it. They do not specialize and try to get their fingers into every pie possible.
What if you had one clear strategy to get to 1 lakh per month and just focussed all your energy, all your working hours, effort, capital, networking, learning and development efforts on that?
A precise scalpel cuts through much better than a blunt axe. Force and random bursts of unfocussed effort do not produce desired results as fast as you would desire.
I have 20 ideas you can pursue if you are struggling to reach the 1 lakh per month mark.
When you are done reading this article, I want you to realize that it is not out of reach of a young lawyer to get there. All it takes is focusses effort, developing necessary skills and a bit of hustle.
After reading this article, you will get the feeling that if you are still not earning 1 lakh per month, it is only for the lack of trying, and not due to lack of opportunities.
Get an entry-level job at a tier 1 law firm
Let’s get the most popular one out of the way. Top law firms these days offer an annual package of up to 18 lakhs to entry-level lawyers. This includes freshers as well as other lawyers joining from 2nd tier law firms or in-house roles with experience. Big law firms treat people with 3-4 years of experience in any other place apart from big law firms as 0 experience, and treat them at per with freshers!
But in any case, if the aim is to earn over 1 lakh a month, getting through to a big law firm is a popular option. Remember than all 18 lakhs is not your in-hand salary, 20-40% of it may be a discretionary bonus. You are likely to get only around 50% of it if we go by statistical chance, even if you performed well. If your performance is not satisfactory, you are likely to get far less.
More than 1 lakh per month, anyway.
If you want to learn how to get a job in a big law firm, read this guide.
Draft commercial agreements for a few SMEs on a freelance basis
Freelancers can earn 1 lakh a month far more easily, provided they can find work regularly. Charging INR 10,000 for a commercial contract is no big deal. If you are desperate and new, charge INR 5,000 per month, and a lot of people will line up to you for contract drafting work simply because of the price.
There are a lot of industries that work on a razor-thin margin, such as web developers, app developers, and digital marketers. However, their clients often try to send them complicated legal agreements with damning penal clauses. Then these companies need help from lawyers, which they cannot usually afford on a full-time basis. They also find it hard to hire a good lawyer with the necessary skills on a full-time basis. If you would do their contracts for 5000 a pop, and competently so, such companies could make a beeline for you.
There are many other examples. Small government contractors would be a great example of such clients in need for cheap contract drafting services. Most lawyers and law firms wouldn’t serve them because it works out to be too low margin for them. But for a solo lawyer looking to make 1 lakh per month by drafting 20 relatively less complicated contracts a month? This works like a charm. You would not work even half the hours you would work in a big law firm to earn the same amount.
Startups are another good example for this. Finding someone competent to draft decent contracts for Rs. 5000 per contract would be a blessing for most unfunded startups, and they would love to give you more work. You can also raise your rates over time as they get familiar with you and begin to rely on you.
Rs. 5000 for a contract, to be honest, is obscenely cheap. It may make some clients worry about your quality of work. However, since you need to get 20 of them, and I am assuming that you are starting from scratch, this initial price will really be helpful to get some work flowing.
Finding work can be a challenge though for those not familiar with the business development process for the legal industry. If that is the case, look up our legal practice management course. If you need training to draft good commercial contracts, please check out this contract drafting course.
Work on 2-3 Bail matters
The most basic criminal litigation work that is high volume and well paid is bail. There are always lots of people requiring bail. People are in panic when they are trying to get bail, and do not hesitate to pay well. But they want to go to a competent lawyer.
It is a great idea to specialize in bail matters. Charging INR 50,000 or INR 1 lakh for bail application and hearing is totally feasible. Any good lawyer will charge even more in metro cities.
However, there are lawyers who would even charge INR 500 to do this. You do not want to be one of them. Even if you are new and desperate, do not charge anything less than INR 20,000.
Assuming you are starting out, finding clients can be challenging. You may have to make friends with policemen or jail staff, or do lots of pro bono work for people who can’t afford their own lawyer or even bail bond. Doing pro bono work for a while will establish your credentials with many people, and you will soon begin to get referrals due to your goodwill.
If you do good pro bono work for the poor people, and perform well in the court, everyone from judge, police constables, prosecutors and other lawyers will remember you and trust you. The prisoners who get out because of you will sing your praises to other prisoners. What better marketing is possible?
If you can get even 5 bail matters a month, and charge a modest INR 20,000 per matter, you make a lakh. Not bad at all. And this can be the beginning of illustrious criminal law practice for you!
Need to learn the practical skills so you can start doing this from tomorrow itself? Try our criminal litigation course.
Draft 4 shareholders agreement for angel and seed investment rounds
Not a lot of law firms or lawyers want to touch these small deals. The ticket size is too small. No complication or long-drawn negotiations, so margins are too small.
However, it is great for you who just aspires to earn one lakh a month with as little blood and sweat as possible. Find small angel investors who do regular deals, or even angel investment networks like Mumbai Angel, Calcutta Angels etc, impress them with your solid knowledge and background, and you can get dozens of drafting, due diligence and negotiating work every month.
Sure, per deal money fees are likely to be capped at 20-25k, but what’s the harm? You just need 4 deals to get to the 1 lakh number!
How to do this work? Learn from our course on corporate finance that covers M&A, investment law and some banking transactions.
Draft applications, petitions, and other documents for other busy lawyers – 1 per day
This is more work than the rest we discussed, but this work is there in every nook and corner of India. You can find it in any small town too. There are always those one or two lawyers who are super busy and do not have time to train or manage juniors. Their juniors do shitty work, so they do not bother to give them work and try to do everything on their own. This soon restricts their growth. It’s hard to build a flourishing law practice without a good team below.
Find such lawyers, and if you are good at drafting, show them samples of your drafting. Offer to do a few of their drafts for free. If things work out you can be their outsourced draftsperson. Not all lawyers will be comfortable with this, but for others, they will really be very interested, because if this works out, they can double of triple their income as they can accept more matters!
They are likely to pay you quite less though. If they are charging the client Rs. 10,000 for a draft, you will be lucky if they pay you even 2-3000.
However, you can hike your rates over time as you become more and more part of the system and indispensable. Most lawyers get a lot of similar type of work anyway. So it should be easy for you to do a lot of drafting at volume.
It is a good idea to not rely on one lawyer for this and have similar relationships with at least 3-4 such lawyers so you are not overly dependent on one.
Make it very clear that you have no intention of practicing on your own, and that you just want to specialize in drafting for other lawyers, that will take away the threat they may otherwise feel, that you may take away their client or contact a client behind their back.
Sign NDAs and indemnities to make them comfortable, because otherwise, it is hard for them to trust a back end support service provider. Even if they do not bring it up, you should suggest it when you approach them for such work.
Not good at drafting? We have courses that teach contract drafting as well as drafting for litigation, civil as well as criminal. You could drastically upgrade your drafting in a matter of 3 months with our help!
Help established lawyers to write articles in newspapers – 4 per week
This is definitely very well paid work. It is essentially ghostwriting but goes by the name of research. You need to be a good writer for this. You should have a portfolio of published articles that you can show someone. This is premium work, and if you aren’t a good writer do not even try this.
You need to approach law firm partners and senior advocates with lots of knowledge and money but no time to write in newspapers. It is important for them to write columns and articles and be visible in that way, but they do not get the time or space to do all of it on their own.
You can research the articles for them, provide them the first draft and when they are done with the final draft, you can coordinate sending it to a newspaper or magazine that would appreciate such articles. You may have to spend some time editing the article to make it less technical and publishable by non-technical journals and newspapers. Yes, apart from writing chops, you need business development and PR skills for this. It is not too difficult though, and clients will not leave you easily once they are hooked. You can easily charge INR 5-10,000 per article. It is a good idea to start with lower rates and raise your rates over time as you progress.
You can provide this service for free for the first article to prove your mettle. That would be an excellent idea.
In all our premium courses, we provide career services where we teach you things like how to write articles, how to publish and how to network. If you are interested in doing this, I bet our training will go a long way. I would especially recommend the legal practice management course.
Help 4-5 lawyers to manage their social media profile
If you are good at social media, this is a fantastic thing to do. Only lawyers are effective at doing legal social media because the generic social media people don’t get legal social media.
Lawyers love to get more followers. For most of them, it is about vanity rather than business. However, it is possible to make a social media strategy that contributes strongly to one’s practice.
You can either appeal to one’s ego by promising them to get lots of followers every month. Again, do it for a month for free. Charge at least 20-25k per month, so pick lawyers who earn at least 4-5 lakhs per month and therefore have the budget. Btw, that is almost any senior counsel or any law firm partner with a bit of experience!
Again, the legal practice management course will be super helpful of this is your plan.
A hyperbolic saying claims that for the general public, there is god, and then there are experts who wrote best-seller books. Bestseller is not required, managing to publish a book from a decent publication can do a lot of good to a lawyer’s credibility.
As a law student, I did a lot of ghostwriting. Even at that age, I could charge up to INR 2,00,000 and upwards for a 20 chapter book. It makes a lot of commercial sense for lawyers to do this. You will find many clients if you can showcase your ability to publish books and build some relationships in the legal publishing industry.
Apart from the money, it will improve your knowledge and writing skill like anything. Not small perks, because these things can open new doors later.
Start by publishing your own book, first, of course.
Build up a great profile on freelance legal work websites
There are a lot of freelance work websites out there, like Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, Fiverr and what not. They all have a lot of legal work being posted for freelancers.
You can do a lot of work from these sites. However, work is likely to go to people with lots of positive ratings and successful projects. So yeah, hustle to make your profile amazing, and after that, it’s quite easy to get work worth 1 lakh or more per month. I know several lawyers who make around 2 lakhs per month doing remote legal work on such websites.
Here is an article on how to do remote legal work while you travel the world.
Writing articles for international publications on legal topics – 4-5 per month
How about writing legal opinion pieces and commissioned analysis articles for international publications? An Al Jazeera or Gulf News can pay up to INR 25,000 for a single article, while Indian domestic publications will be happy to pay INR 7,000-10,000 for a top-notch article.
However, you cannot just send any random article to them and ask to get paid. You have to first pitch to an editor, who may like the idea of the article you proposed, and commission you to write that article.
When I write for any media company as a guest post, I do not ask to get paid, because I want to write on what I want to write on and I want it published! But if I wanted to get paid, I would have to first get the idea approved and an article commissioned by the editor before I wrote it. And then, if the editor finally likes what I wrote, I would get paid.
There was a time when I just left my job at a law firm and started iPleaders. I needed to get paid some pocket money. I had a website called Gyancentral pay me INR 4000 per article, and they wanted me to give them one every week. I negotiated with them that if the article gets at least 100 facebook shares, I want an enhanced payment of INR 5000. They agreed, and I earned at least INR 20,000 like clockwork per month, back in 2013, which covered most of my living expenses as I worked to build my startup. I wrote some paid articles for Bar and Bench around that time as well.
However, if you write frequently, this is not too hard. If you could write 10 articles a month and charge INR 10,000 per article, there is your INR 1,00,000 per month.
Remember that this is not an ordinary article. The article has to be really good and attract a lot of traffic to be worth that much. Would your article get 100 facebook reshares, or hundreds of likes on Linkedin or Facebook? Will it be good enough to go viral on Twitter, at least once a month? In that case, no publication will hesitate to pay you your asking price.
Again, start small and build-up towards the top. Do not be afraid to start small. In the beginning, even getting paid INR 1000 to write an article is not bad, but try to write as if you are getting paid INR 10,000 for writing it and you must add that much value. That is the way to grow superfast.
Here is a video from our YouTube channel if you want to learn more.
Get retainers from 4 SMEs or startups as outsourced general counsel
As companies grow, they have more and more legal issues. At some point, they realize that legal bills are mounting fast. There is a point where it makes more sense to hire a lawyer in-house rather than outsourcing everything.
It is much cheaper and more advantageous from an organizational point of view to have a lawyer who is regularly looking into the needs of a company as an insider rather than outside legal counsel. In-house legal counsels are in great demand for obvious economic and strategic reasons, and even SMEs and startups are eager to hire their own in-house lawyers, especially a general counsel who proactively looks into the legal needs of a business rather than only doing reactive work upon getting instructed.
However, some companies are too small to have a full time, qualified, experienced lawyer yet. Many small SMEs and startups will happily pay for a part-time, available on call and email, but limited by hours kinda arrangement with a lawyer if they are ready to take the responsibility as an outsourced general counsel.
For small businesses, it indeed makes a great deal of economic and strategic sense. What if you could get 3 or 4 such companies to work for, and charged between 25-35K per company?
Be careful to limit your availability in terms of days per week or preferably hours per month basis. This is a bit easier for those with a few years of experience and credibility in the market. It definitely helps if you are active on social media and blogosphere as these SMEs and startups need to judge your credibility before they hire you, and it is very hard for them to assess your legal skills.
How to go about getting such clients? We teach that in our Legal Practice Development and Management course.
This practice of outsourced GCs is a rage in USA and Europe. Here are some services that you can study and model your business around:
Recover at least 10 lakhs of due money through legal notices, summary suits, IBC or MSMED
Money recovery is an amazing area of work. It is just too good! The simple reason, when you are getting your clients money recovered, they are grateful and the value is very tangible. They do not mind giving you 10% or 20% of that if you are good at it and the matter is complex.
However, what seems complex to a client may not be complex at all for you. IBC has made money recovery damn easy. MSMED Act is another brilliant legislation that makes money recovery easy for MSMEs. It also gives them an 18% interest rate for delayed payments.
One can also file summary suits. There are just way too many recovery cases in India, and with economic situation hardening, there will be more work in the years to come in this domain!
Finding people with 10 lakh of outstanding, and recovering it with notices, filing cases, and criminal proceedings when due, is a great way to earn 1 lakh per month. If you do it well, you will blow past that mark very soon. When I started ClikLawyer, I focussed on money recovery. We made close to 2 lakhs in the first month itself (though we were a team) and we got to 8 lakhs per month by the 7th month when I had to close it down as I shifted to Goa for health reasons.
As you succeed in some matters, your name will spread. I used to get most of my payment after the recovery though, and that worked absolutely fine. I insisted on a small payment before I started work, with most of the money to be paid after work was done. And that helped me to get lots of work very soon.
Remember that all lawyers love to do money recovery cases. As someone starting fresh, you need to give better terms to your clients. It is not always less fee that clients prefer, but sometimes it is more outcome certainty. Or ease of dealing.
2-4 motor vehicle matters a week involving the release of a vehicle
Drunken driving and rash driving has increased a lot in India. There is a huge fine in place, but nonetheless, the number of such cases is astronomical. What is interesting is that there are hardly any decent lawyers in courts of traffic judge or motor vehicles tribunal. It is crazy. People have more expensive cars these days in great numbers, from Ferrari to Lamborghini, but they can’t find good lawyers to handle their motor vehicle cases or if their car is impounded.
It is fairly easy to find these matters, provided you figure out a way to reach out to the people who are stuck with this problem. Blogging, youtube, tiktok and other such mediums that reach a large number of common people of younger generation (preferably affluent) would be amazing for this. Ranking your articles in Google in multiple vernacular languages can also be a great strategy. If I was starting this practice, I would focus a lot on creating a great helpline and free traffic rule advice channel on Instagram and YouTube.
You basically need to learn civil and criminal procedure and litigation for this too.
Get a couple of gun licenses per month
How much can you charge for getting someone a gun license? Around INR 50,000 is quite reasonable. Lots of people are looking for gun licenses in India, but it’s hard to get. You can charge the above amount just for processing papers, after all, there is no guarantee that the administration will give someone a license necessarily even if you did your job perfectly.
One great idea is to help people by giving strategic advice. For example, sign them up, preferably their kids for shooting as a sport. They are 100 times more likely to be eligible for a license as India wants more medals and shooting is an important sport for us! Also, you get to own the gun.
There is a lot of paperwork involved, though.
I don’t think you need a course to learn to do this. Hard part is getting the client. For that, you have our legal practice management course.
Do 4-5 consensual divorce matters per month
In Delhi, the going rate for a consensual divorce is INR 30,000 by a competent lawyer with a few years of experience. There are others who charge a lot more as well.
It is also possible to find lawyers who will do it for INR 10,000. I researched, from Just Dial.
In any case, if you charge INR 20,000 it is a very reasonable amount. Given the number of divorce cases all around, if you are any good at business development and profile building, you can get 5 such cases a month fairly easily. Given that you will be working just a few days and have most of your time available and free for marketing also helps!
Remember while the hearing itself does not take much time and drafting is very standard, with barely any changes required to a template, you may end up spending many hours in the court waiting for your matter to be called. During this time, you can’t do much client work. Hence, you need to be careful while pricing your services. Do not underprice too much!
We have an upcoming course on family laws. We will tell you when it is launched. Stay tuned.
Register 2-3 building projects per month under RERA
There is a lot of work under RERA these days. One of the most basic work out of that is registering projects for builders. You can easily charge anything between 30-50,000 per project. The work takes a bit of leg work and your paperwork has to be immaculate. You also need to know how to make your way around bureaucrats.
Apart from RERA, there are many other licenses such projects require. You get paid more for that work. In Gurgaon, a building project may require as many as 50 licenses, which may take 6-12 months to obtain. You can easily charge upwards of 10 lakhs to get all the paperwork done.
Beware of corruption in this sector though.
Here is our course on real estate law that you need for this!
Get yourself appointed as local commissioner in 2-4 litigation matters
Courts often appoint local commissioners to go and do stuff like verifying the ground realities, taking possession of moveable or immovable property, and such other matters. The court can appoint any reliable lawyer it likes as a local commissioner. If you have been a judicial clerk for a judge, this work may be easier to come by. It is common for commissioners to get paid anywhere between INR 25,000 – INR 50,000 per day or per assignment.
Notary Public – attest 10-20 document attestations a day
In Goa, I came across a lady lawyer, who does no other work apart from notarizing agreements. I realized why after observing her practice for a few days.
Every day brokers and landlords renting out their property to hotels, restaurants, and tourists who stay long term made a beeline to get their agreements notarized. She notarised around 40-50 agreements per day, for Rs. 200 a pop. She is making a killing as a notary!
Notary is a crazy opportunity to make easy money for lawyers. You just need a good location to open up a shop where common people can walk in any time of the day and get their document notarized.
Earning 1 lakh should be no challenge at all if you are located at the right place, conveniently, and provide a good, lenient and quick service.
Become an IRP and find 1 matter per year
Recently I found out how much an IRP was charging and was stunned. He was charging INR 7.5 lakhs per month to a company in insolvency! You can earn a lot of money as an IRP.
You have to, of course, pass a reasonably difficult exam. Also, passing the exam is one thing and getting clients is another thing. You need to network and build your profile before you get cases referred to you.
However, it is nothing that cannot be achieved with a little bit of concentrated effort for 3-4 years. It is certainly easier than getting and then retaining a job at a big law firm.
Accompany people facing FIRs to the police station
This service is really high in demand! People who are accused in a criminal matter are really scared of getting arrested or going to jail. A police station is a foreign environment. Clients will happily pay you 8-10,000 for accompanying them to a police station when they are accused, and INR 2000-5,000 to help them to lodge a police complaint. If you can build a good rapport with police in a few areas, this can be a booming and very lucrative practice.
You can also get a lot of referrals from policemen.
The volume of such matters is really high, and once people get to know you for this kind of work, finding 10 clients a month should be fairly easy.
There are a bunch of more ideas, I am not going to elaborate on them, but you get the drift, right?
- Property due diligence and registration – 10 a month
- Take 50 hours of lectures in different law colleges, offer credit courses
- Get people succession certificates and probate wills
- Facilitate court marriages
- Get licenses and registrations for businesses
- Cyber complaints against fraud
- Consumer cases
We have courses that can help you and guide you to do each and every one of these things, from landing clients to delivering high-quality work.
Please take a look at the courses which are open for admission this month, below:
EXECUTIVE CERTIFICATE COURSES
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