What Kind of Law Office Space Should I Have? Pros and Cons – Part 1


Good Home OfficeToday’s post is the 1st  in a 5 part series by Debra L. Bruce about the relative pros and cons in the decision about where you locate your  law practice.

Whether you are a new law grad or a seasoned attorney, you might be scratching your head about the best place to open up a new law office. Some of you are thinking: “That’s easy. I’m going to have a home office until I get enough clients to pay the rent somewhere else!”

That may be a good decision for many of you, but I hope you will make that decision based on a thorough analysis of your options. This series will discuss some of the available choices, along with factors to consider. Today’s post discusses the Home Office.

Home Office
Pros:

Third Wave blogger Chuck Newton blogged about his decision to cut back his multiple-office practice and move to a home office. He emphasized the importance of keeping fixed expenses low in your practice, in order to be able to adapt more easily to the ebb and flow of business. Here are some other advantages:

  1. In addition to saving rent, you’ll save on gas and car maintenance costs when your commute is just down the stairs.
  2. You can use some of the equipment you already own, reducing costs for a start-up.
  3. You may have more time with family because you don’t waste time commuting, and you are more physically available.
  4. You can dress very casually.
  5. You won’t lose productivity while waiting for the cable guy to show up or while cooking a pot roast.
  6. You may be able to get a tax deduction for your home office, covering part of the expenses you would have anyway for utilities, insurance, property taxes, etc. 

As Chuck demonstrates in his blog post, a home office is a viable option for seasoned lawyers, as well as new ones.

Cons:

  1. A home office can feel isolated. You can’t just step over to the office next door to extend an impromptu lunch invitation or discuss a legal issue. If you live in the suburbs, even planned get-togethers can seem too inconvenient.
  2. If you need to meet with a client, a home office presents a less professional image.
  3. With certain practice areas that involve volatile emotions, it may not be safe for you or your family for you to meet with clients at your home. You may need to travel to clients’ offices or make other arrangements for client meeting space.
  4. If you have any staff, even part-time, it will need to be someone you can trust in your home alone while you go to a meeting, to court, etc.
  5. Some lawyers struggle with the distractions of home. Family members may not respect that you are at work, and may interrupt you. Dogs bark, babies cry and junk food calls to you from the pantry.
  6. Today it is hard enough to have true down-time. You are never away from your work when it is just down the hall.

My next posts address  Shared Office Space,  Subleased Space, An Executive Suite, and conclude with A Home Office + Office Hoteling.

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