Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A few words about practicing at home

Since January 1, 1998, my office has mostly been at home except for my sidetrack to Indianapolis from 2000-03. Even then I would say that I would say that I had an exclusively home office only between 2005 and this year. It works for me and I think it works for most of my clients.

It did bother one client very much and I suspect that it bothers some others in other ways. It really distresses my father. I have debated the matter many time. For me, the decision since 2003 came down to this:

  1. I could put the usual front with its costs or put the money into other areas of the practice that did something useful for myself and my clients.
  2. Where is the office? I do all my work on a computer connected to the Internet. The telephone can reach me wherever I want it to reach me. I use Vonage and that allows me to move the office telephone from home to the office and back.
  3. Too many of my business clients can ill afford to come to the office for meetings.
  4. When I had the more common sort of office, I always hated clients seeing my working process. Making sausages is prettier.
On the other hand, I need some place to meet non-business clients and they need some place to drop off their paperwork.

So I share office space that allows me to meet with clients by appointment only and for them to drop off documents. I can get my work done. Hopefully, everyone is happy.

What got me to write on this is a bunch of articles that I ran across the past few days. After reading them, I decided that I had made a better choice than I first suspected.

Chuck Newton has several posts about this on his blog: Overhead Creep (no kidding about that one), Et tu, Brute, and What Part Of Solo Do You Not Understand?. I keep my costs down and I can provide good services for a reasonable fee. (I am just enough of a cranky smart aleck to ask anyone balking at my office set up whether they want to pay the higher fees to pay for digs rather than what they are paying for the services.) Keeping the costs down keeps the stress from getting any worse.

Building a Solo Practice, LLC blogs on the general insecurity of our economy and Big Law in general. The post is titled:Do You Need Anymore Reasons To Not Be Part of Big Law?
But that is not the main reason I am bringing this article to your attention. I'm alerting you because so many students tell me they need the security of Big Law, a steady paycheck because of their financial and familial obligations. This article, just one of many, that if you read between the lines you will hear it shouting through a bull horn, 'no security here."
As I tell everyone, my format means that any screwups in the office are mine. I worked for a firm in Indianapolis that spent a lot of money on office furniture and by picking up the tab at Morton's and Shula's. They went under. None of these did anything to impress the clients except the closing of the firm.

Prestige can buy a a lot. Prestige and fifty cents can get you a cup of coffee. If you need some evidence on this, then read this article from The San Francisco Magazine.

Now, I need to get the desk uncovered.