There are many contributing factors to the continually decreasing expense of opening a law firm. But, one of the chief reasons law firm founders are paying far less than they were even ten years ago has been the rise of office flexibility.
Traditional law firm leases involved hefty price tags and long-term commitments. Yet, many new law firm business owners felt compelled to access the option, in large part because of a long-standing stigma against non-traditional office spaces, but also because many state ethics codes were hostile to alternatives, due to the maintenance of so-called ‘bona ride office’ rules. But, in the last decade or so, many state ethics rules have been relaxed or reinterpreted, and both law firm clients and other lawyers have become more accepting of more modern office arrangements.
Even so, the tug of tradition is perhaps strongest in the law, of all professional ventures; and so, lawyers still evince hesitation over where they will work, and whether it will be formal enough. The truth of the matter is that this is a lawyer problem, more than it is a client problem. In the majority of cases, your clients won’t care where you work, or whether your dog (or your kids, for that matter) sit under your desk. Your clients may also actually prefer house calls, when you come to them, rather than forcing them to pay costly parking fees in large cities.
So, it’s kind of cool that, when you’re starting a law firm, where you work is up to. Whether you pick a home office, or a collaborative space, or an office share — all of those options are workable, when you use the right technology and stay mindful of client confidentiality.
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If you want to start your own law firm, join me for an exclusive workshop, coming up in Boston (August 24-26) and New York (September 7-9).
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