While law school educates you on how to represent your clients’ best interests, it may not have prepped you for selecting a financial partner that can support your law firm’s business needs.
Though your firm’s size and type of law practiced can influence its banking needs, you may want to pay specific attention to these four products/services when selecting a financial institution for your law firm.
- Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (COLTAF) Accounts
As long as you’re required to have a COLTAF account, why not shop around for the best deal? COLTAF lists its Prime Partners (financial institutions that exceed the program’s eligibility requirements) online so you can quickly narrow down the field. In addition to the earnings rate, closely review the fee schedule: some financial institutions offer a fee-free COLTAF checking account.
- Remote deposit
Being able to conveniently deposit client checks from a desktop computer saves time and helps your cash flow. While many larger financial institutions offer remote deposit, it often comes at a price. So ask about the fee. Fortunately, there are financial institutions that offer this service free of charge, although you may need to initially purchase a compliant check reader/scanner.
- Business line of credit
Contingent-fee cases and those that take months or longer to resolve can put a crimp in your business’ cash flow. That’s why it’s especially important for law firms to have a business line of credit (BLOC) set up before funds are needed. A BLOC lets you access funds quickly, because you’ve previously taken the time to apply and be approved. Tip: To avoid any interruption in business, find out whether the financial institution you’re considering offers cash on demand via online, mobile or phone banking. And to help your bottom line, look for a BLOC with no annual fee or transaction fees.
- A personal banking relationship
While making sure a financial institution can handle all of your practice’s business needs is priority one, it can also make sense to do your personal banking there as well. This is especially true if you’re a solo practice and will be paying yourself. Consider whether the institution has everything your business and your family needs to bank conveniently — without getting hit with high fees. Important reminder: While having all of your banking at the same place makes good sense, keep your practice and personal finances separate to simplify your taxes and keep your accountant happy.
Learn more about Ent’s Legal Banking Package or apply for an Ent COLTAF Checking Account by contacting an Ent Business Banker at (719) 574-1100 ext. 6770 or 800-525-9623 ext. 6770.