How Have You Successfully Grown Your Home Based Law Practice?

How Have You Successfully Grown Your Home Based Law Practice?

A May 2011 discussion on SoloSez, the email listserv for general practice, solo and small firm lawyers

When I went out on my own, my 'better half' encouraged me to practice from home. Of course, I was leery because I was worried that I would be distracted, unproductive, blah, blah. After two years of sharing space and renting, I finally listened to her words and it ended up being the best decision I made (well, best decision SHE made. lol).

As my practice has grown, I am running across more and more attorneys who have grown a 'home based' practice. For those of you who 'practice from home', how have you grown your practice? Have you expanded your staff? Has your firm gotten so productive where you probably need to move it out of your home??

I have kept a "home based" practice going now for several years. I have not marketed it extensively, and so it grows slowly on its own, based on referrals. I like it this way so far. I am 'new' to a small town ( where being here five years is still pretty much considered 'new' i think! ) and so, that has been a factor too. I try to go out and meet as many other lawyers as I can when I have time, etc.

I think one of the best ways to organically grow a practice is to first, very clearly delineate your practice area, and be specific about it, i.e. "I'm a probate lawyer" and let other lawyers clearly know what you do, and keep reminding them from time to time. When I first started here, I literally went "door to door' to other law offices to introduce myself to them.

I do not want to move 'out' of my home office. At least so far! I keep a "client-meeting-office" downtown and that seems to work pretty well... It is on a sharing arrangement with some other office sub-lessees who are not attorneys.

Like Caroline Elefant expressed recently, I want to bring in 'help' in a way that is efficient. That is an on-going challenge!

Karla Crosby Ayer, Florida

I did the home-based office while I was a student picking up the undergrad credits to join the Patent Bar, and the killer for me was having three dogs in the house who were prone to barking. (The house isn't sound-proof and there isn't a basement to insulate me from them.)

I couldn't afford to have them start barking while on an important call (which happened more than once). The dogs were a primary reason I worked out a deal to use another firm's spare office.

Any suggestions on that?

- Neil Wehneman

I don't have anything useful to add, but I've worked out of my home for the past year and I currently have a whopping two clients. The advertising, it is no help. Can't afford the networking meetings. Pretty much a bust but nobody's hiring so I press on.

Winner for short answer of the week. Take some cards and meet some hairdressers and bartenders; they are the first to know of a contemplated divorce, sometimes they can accurately predict one before either of the parties knows themselves.

D.A. "Duke" Drouillard, Nebraska

As usual, excellent advice from Duke. Particularly "sometimes they can accuratel predict one." Hairdressers know everything that is going on in a community!

Marylou Lavoie, Connecticut

I've actually gotten the majority of my clients through my mom's beauty salon and from hanging out at bars. It's tough to hang out at bars now though as I've got a four-month-old and no cash. I figure something's gotta come through for me if I just keep plugging along, right?


Rick Silver, New Jersey

It's tough to hang out at bars now though as I've got a four-month-old and no cash.

Whoa Rick. Never spend your own money in a bar except to tip the bartenders you hope to impress. Learn to shoot pool, play darts, play shuffleboard, or sucker people on bar bets.

D.A. "Duke" Drouillard