The Home Office
The digital age and the Internet have significantly affected lawyers’ ability to work at home. Today, many legal practitioners are choosing to base their offices at their residences. Modern technology allows attorneys to maintain accessibility and cost efficiency working at home.
Basing a law practice at home is not for every lawyer. Anyone who is easily distracted may find working at home to be inefficient because of too many interruptions. Having to deal with children, spouses, or housemates may create too much chaos and disrupt any semblance of a peaceful work environment. It is beneficial to have an independent personality to successfully practice law at home.
A home office may be necessary because of a lack of capital to set up an office-based practice, a change in family responsibilities, or just disappointment in job prospects. A home-based practice may also result from the desire to simply wind down as retirement approaches or pursue personal interests.
Working at home requires tremendous self-discipline to avoid the constant temptation to address something related to home life. A home office should be some designated workspace within the home sufficiently isolated from the home’s daily drama. Formulating a set routine while working at home is a means of establishing self-discipline and will help eliminate distractions interfering with work.
It’s important to keep regular work hours as much as possible when working at home, not only to be efficient with work but to ensure that loved ones are not being neglected. It’s crucial to the success of the home office to establish some balance of regularity with the flexibility to work when desired or necessary.
Some areas of law lend themselves to a home law practice better than others, especially if other people live in the home. Meeting criminal law or family law clients in a home office may not be in the best interest of the home-based practitioner’s family. Matters involving estate planning, elder law, tax, small business, probate, and intellectual property are much more conducive to a home office.
Because it may be necessary to meet some clients away from home, it’s important to have an established meeting place. When I practiced at home, I met clients at a nearby resort which was more than adequate to meet our needs. While no client ever complained about meeting at the resort, it may be necessary to rent a part-time office or suite based on personal circumstances.
Newly admitted lawyers are recommended, if possible, to gain experience by working with more experienced lawyers for a few years before going it alone at home. If you need to be constantly part of a team for work stimulation, a home-based practice may not be satisfying for you. If you expect to handle large, complex cases that require the resources of a law firm environment, a home-based practice is likely not for you. The use of technology is essential for a successful home-based practice to be competitive. Lawyers who have not developed at least a medium level of familiarity with the use of technology may find it very difficult to practice competitively in a home-based office.
If walking a few feet to the office instead of making a long, frenzied commute, is appealing, a home office may be right for you. If working flexible hours, and working in casual dress appeals to you, a home-based law practice may be a long-term goal worth considering. On the other hand, remember, people working at home are always at work.
The California Desert Trial Academy is a 21st Century law school tailored to meet the needs of working people. Any lawyer must study and know the law. We believe that practical experience in tandem with legal knowledge is the best road to a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.