Seven years ago, when I launched Aimee B. Davis Law P.C., I was dubious about whether I’d secure the same sophisticated level of corporate transactional work I was accustomed to handling as an associate (and later, as special counsel) in BIG LAW.
One of my primary concerns was the reaction potential clients would have when they discovered I worked from home. Would they take me seriously as a candidate for complex matters? In order to avoid the possibility of having my expertise and experience unfairly discounted by the lack of marble inlays surrounding my workspace, I tried to keep my office location on the down low. (SHOUT OUT to my legacy clients who were always “in the know” and willing to work with me no matter where I was situated!)
As time passed I started to realize, not only was my lack of an office NOT AN OBSTACLE to locking in and keeping clients, it was becoming AN ASSET. I attribute this to a change in perception about “home offices” and “telecommuting” in general. Also, clients were becoming savvy to the fact that my lack of office space translated into a cost savings, and they appreciated that I was not passing my overhead costs onto them.
I still believe that face-to-face meetings with potential clients help secure “getting the business” and solidifying professional relationships. Certainly, in-office client meetings allow me to ask more informed questions about their business concerns and market challenges. Nevertheless, when I’ve offered to meet with clients in their offices, I’ve been told they’d prefer to review and discuss legal documents telephonically. No one is asking to use Skype or any other video-conferencing applications. In fact, I’ve actually never met many of my clients in the flesh.
I suppose these clients consider phone calls to be the most efficient use of their time. Plus, there is always the possibility that they are multitasking while I wax on about legal language necessary to protect their business interests, the nuances of which tend to make laypeople’s eyes glaze over, and so they may prefer me not to see them dozing off.
It still surprises me that clients are willing to entrust their complex corporate legal matters to someone they have never met. Yet, at a recent meeting of similarly situated solos, I was told that they, too, have not met a majority of their clients. In fact, one of my colleagues noted a new use of the word “offsite,” commonly used by Millennials, but:
In any case, this zeitgeist shift is becoming rather normative, and so I am no longer hesitant to tell anyone that I work from home.