Can Solo Attorneys Work Successfully From a Home Office?

by Alexa Drago on January 7, 2015

By Guest Blogger Melanie Fischer

The question, “Can solo attorneys work successfully from a home office?” might seem simple to answer. Of course they can. But when you stop and really think about it, the answer to this question might not be as straightforward as it originally appears. Technically, solo attorneys can work from home if they choose. But can they work successfully from home?

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The question, “Can solo attorneys work successfully from a home office?” might be better answered with the word maybe. Or, it might be beneficial to re-word the question as follows: “Should solo attorneys work from a home office?

The definite answer to either version of this questions depends on many factors.

For example:

  • Is the home equipped with a designated office space?
  • Are other people trying to run another business from the same home at the same time?
  • Is the home set up for meetings with clients?
  • Are there children in the home during business hours?
  • Can the attorney completely focus on running the law firm in a home-based environment?

The bottom line is that it might not be so much about the location of the office (e.g. inside of a home), as it is about the attorneys’ ability to successfully run a business in a home setting.

Benefits of Running a Solo Law Firm from a Home Office
There are many benefits of a home-based office for solo attorneys. While this type of office set-up will not work for everyone, it can be an optimal choice for many.

Following are some of the most common benefits of a home office for solo attorneys:

  • A home office can be economical
  • When an office is located inside of a home, it’s convenient
  • A flexible work schedule is possible when an office is located at home
  • There is no travel time because there is no commute
  • A lease does not have to be signed
  • A home office might allow for an in-home office tax deduction

Potential downsides to running a solo law practice out of a home:

  • Meeting with clients in a home office can be difficult – especially if the home is not easily accessible
  • A home office might not be viewed as a professional setting by some clients
  • Working from home can be distracting
  • There might not be enough room to store office equipment and client files in a home office

If you are considering using your home for a solo law firm practice, ask yourself the following questions before committing to this type of office set-up:

  • Do you possess the discipline to run a solo law firm in your home?
  • If you have young children at home, will they distract you from your work?
  • Does your city or county allow a business such as a solo law firm to exist in a residential area?
  • Will you feel too isolated from the rest of the world if you are inside of your home (living and working) many hours of the day?
  • Do you want your clients to know where you live?
  • Will you be able to keep your home in a presentable condition if your clients want an in-person consultation?
  • Do you have the ability to set boundaries between your living space and your office space?

Only you can decide if a home office is a better option than a more traditional office setting. It’s important to remember that not all solo attorneys can be successful running a law firm out of their own house. Be sure to think long and hard about opening a solo law firm in your home. Ultimately, you may come to the conclusion that an in-home office is where you believe your law firm will thrive.

 

{ 1 comment }

Scott Terrell January 8, 2015 at 9:38 am

One of the biggest downsides is growing social isolation as it relates to new client development. In part, new client development happens daily through interactions with those people you run into in an office location environment including the parking lot, the elevator, and in convenience stores. Thus, when considering a home office, be attentive to the need to allocate additional time and effort in order to compensate for the lessened social interaction that one will experience in a home office environment.

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