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Starting Your Own Practice: Office Space & Location

It is difficult to generalize about any one specific attorney’s office requirements. Clearly, budgeting and income considerations will play a major role in such considerations. However, if a lawyer chooses an office sharing arrangement, he or she must be aware of the ethical and malpractice risks of such an arrangement. Issues in an office sharing arrangement can include vicarious malpractice liability of other office sharing lawyers, loss of attorney-client privilege, and disqualifications arising from unrecognized conflicts of interest.

When evaluating your office needs, be sure to include:

  • Firm’s image (e.g., upscale, informal, etc.)
  • Square footage needs
  • ADA considerations
  • Parking
  • Services
    • Janitorial
    • Facilities maintenance
    • Interior design
    • Specialty services such as watering plants
  • Expansion opportunities
  • Renovation needs
  • Location
  • Office sharing
  • Renting vs. purchasing
  • Working from home
    • Where will you meet with clients?
    • How will you protect client confidentiality?
    • How will your firm’s “image” be affected by working out of your home, and does that matter to you?

Other Possible Office Equipment and Service Needs

  • Fax machine
  • Shredder
  • Internet service provider
  • Website domain and associated email account(s)
  • High speed internet access or DSL line
  • Telephone system
  • Voicemail or answering service
  • Local and long distance carrier
  • Conference calling
  • Postage scale/mail equipment
  • Private shipping account (e.g., UPS or FedEx)
  • Office furniture for
    • Lawyer(s)
    • Staff
    • Reception/waiting area
    • File cabinets
    • Conference room
    • Carpeting and area rugs
    • Book shelves
    • Art work/office decorating needs
  • Office supplies (paper, envelopes, pens, staplers, file folders, etc.)
  • Business cards
  • Legal research
    • Online provider
    • Law school library
    • Courts library
    • Deskbooks

Use The Bar Plan As a Resource

We are here to help. Lawyers will always have questions about their professional duties or malpractice risk throughout their careers. The Bar Plan’s Risk Management team is here to help lawyers answer those questions, and any questions you may have about starting your own practice. Our Risk Management Hotline is free and confidential. You do not need to be an insured of The Bar Plan to use this service. Call 1-800-843-2277 x103 or email