Law Practice and the Home Office

Last week I attended the Texas State Bar convention over in Fort Worth, and had the opportunity to talk with a few fellow lawyers about their current practices. One's story was real intriguing. He had been a big firm lawyer for over eighteen years, but he said that he was currently practicing out of his house and had been doing so for the past seven. Frankly, I never heard of that. I had heard about lawyers starting out their practices in their homes, but I hadn't ever heard of a big firm lawyer shucking the partner profits, the support staff, and all the supposed benefits of the firm for a home office. I asked him about the yings and the yangs of both and he said that he wished that he had made the move to the house sooner. He had a good group of clients (one pretty large bank) and he found out that after the first consultation, his clients didn't need (or want) any more face-to-face meetings. In fact, they liked the fact that virtually all his conferences were done via email or conference call because that's the way they all do business.

For the last several months, I've been investigating the pros and cons of moving my appellate practice to a home office. This lawyer showed me that it's not only doable, but probably preferable. His overhead is considerably less than mine and he hasn't had to dumb his practice down because he doesn't write a rent check for an expensive office suite every month. In fact, it's helped him to win more business: one of his clients opted to retain him for a litigation matter after comparing his hourly rate of $300 to the $900 per hour rate quoted by a downtown firm.

Note to self: begin investigation of home office in earnest.