One of the most frequent questions client ask is : ” Can I save money by having my office in my home?”

The answer is WELL, MAYBE.

Best to give this one a lot of thought before you go forward with hanging your shingle on your front porch.  First of all, it is more than likely that clients will know your home address at some time, even if you meet them at a coffee shop.  Certainly most of the time this is OK until you get that client from (you know where).  Then you are not protected from all kinds of tactics including stalking and harassing you.  Remember this is why attorneys rip off the address labels on magazines that they bring from home for their offices.

You can certainly have a mail box address which can appear as a real street address and this may help.  Also inexpensive “group” offices which allow you to use their address and facilities on a monthly basis can give you some protection.

More importantly, you need to think about how this all looks to your clients.  If your practice is Probate and Wills, you could offer to go to the client’s  homes, especially if they are elderly.  However, if you have a substantial client that you are doing long term estate planning and business trusts, etc. you  really can’t meet in a coffee shop.  If your goal is to attract these kinds of clients and your marketing is focused there, maybe biting the bullet and getting a shared office at least would be more feasible.

If you do decide to have your practice in your home, be careful how to describe where you are located on your Website.  Many people choose their attorney by where they live.  If you have a group office, you can put that address there and meet there, but how do you describe where you are if you are meeting them in a coffee shop?  Some attorneys put “ by appointment” but that is also confusing.  You can offer to come to their home but , as said above, that may turn off your larger clients.

Home offices are really best suited to practices which don’t involve much client contact such as Appeals and International Business which can be done mostly by internet.

Certainly, some attorneys are able to work out of their homes as they keep their practices small and don’t need much help, but you can see it is not an easy task.  Lastly, look around your home and decide exactly where you are going to have your office.  Do you have a separate room or are you doing this in your living room?  Is it quiet? Do you have enough space to have a copier, computer and filing cabinets?  Do you work well  in this environment or are you easily distracted?  All of these can be obstacles to a productive practice.  You are going to have to be rigid in your scheduling of time.  Is working in the evenings going to be a no no?  Solos have to put in anywhere from 45-55 hours a week setting up, marketing , networking and then doing legal work for at least 2 years to successfully launch  a business, whether its in their home or office.  Be truthful and answer if you can do that and you will save yourself a lot of stress and heartache.

Last, take to your CPA and see what the tax ramifications are with home offices.  Good advice here can save you heart ache later.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide and let me know your experiences!


Since it is the first of the year, it is still great fun to talk about money!  Last blog you got on it and created a plan to find out if you were meeting your monthly nut.  Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few hints or “sound bits” that you might do immediately and make more money.

  1.  RAISE YOUR FEES:  Even a small increase of fees will bring you substantially more revenue.  Its January and the perfect time to tell your clients that its time to raise fees. Or, don’t tell them until you start doing it and ask if they want to pay you a retainer now at the old fee scale.  Money will go into your trust account and be reimbursed if it isn’t used but it will be accessible immediately, saving your wait time.
  2. PAY YOURSELF FIRST:  This is one of the oldest but wisest tips for earning more.  When you get revenue put 10% of it in a  interest earning (LOL) bank account that is sacrosanct and don’t touch it.
  3. NEVER DO ANY WORK THAT YOU CAN HIRE OUT AT LESS THAN YOUR NORMAL HOURLY FEE AMOUNT.  This is one of the hardest but best advice I could give you.  First decide how much your hourly worth is.  Please say at least $200.  Then look around and see if you are doing anything that is not going to increase your revenue for less than that amount.  In other words, networking and marketing will produce your correct hourly rate so its worth $200 an hour to do it!  But doing your own accounts and taxes that can be done by an accountant at $40 an hour is not worth your time or effort!
  4. BUDGET,BUDGET,BUDGET.  Look over that P & L statement each month and see if you can find any places that you can reduce your expenses.
  5. HIRE A LEGAL COACH.  We can always save you money with careful planning and increasing your revenue!!!!!




Review your income and expenses in 2015 NOW.  Yes, I know you don’t have to do taxes for a few more months but this is really important.  Also label expenses or categorize them so you can see where your money went.  Be brutal and don’t let anything get by.  Can you tell how much you spent on designer coffee?  How much for gym or classes? What was your overhead total? How much was spent on marketing?

Now go through and mark each expense as N. Necessary or NN. Not Necessary. Look at the N’s and see if all or part of that expense was not really necessary and mark it.  N is things like rent, reasonable food, gas, phone, gas, car expense, etc.

Look at the bottom line.  Did you make enough money to cover your expenses this year?  Did you incur any debt? If so how much?


First, take another look at the NN expenses.  How many can you cut out altogether or decrease?  How many of the N expenses might be reduced, if even slightly?

When you have done this as Step 1, you will be able to see if you can set your 2016 goals to recover at least as much income as your 2015 revenue.  If not, then onto Step 2.

This is about finding out how much more income you need to make in 2016.  Look at your overall short fall for 2015.  How much was that?  Do you want to add any expenses to 2016?  At this point, you need to figure out a good estimate as to what  income you need to generate in 2016.

Some insightful authors have determined that to be at our happiest as attorneys we need to make $70,000 a year.  Does this seem reasonable to you?  This figure is, of course, balanced with having less income but more happiness and work/life balance.  If you are willing to take this information at face value, it may be a place to start your next year’s budget.  It means you won’t have so many goodies but more time to enjoy the ones you already have.

So, all of this is your decision.  UGH

I have found that this is a really simple way to look at your financial situation.  We’re not talking about saving for retirement or anything else at this point. Just how did you do money-wise last year.  Debt reduction and proper savings come later.  This exercise should be done at least once a year.  Now is a great time.