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A Bad Lawyer, But Why the Gratuitous Comments?

by Carolyn Elefant on November 8, 2005 · 6 comments

in Ethics & Malpractice Issues, Mistakes/What NOT To Do, Office Options

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Another article about a really bad solo, Jo-Ellen Wells (Estate Seeks to Disbar Divorce Lawyer), this one out of New Hampshire who took money from several clients and never did the work and in one instance, represented a divorcing wife when the lawyer had already been retained by the husband (though apparently, Wells never did the work for him either).  But amongst Wells’ other indiscretions:  She said she had an office when she really worked from home – and met with clients in Denny’s or Barnes & Noble.

Personally, when I worked from home (and actually do now), I never let on to clients.  I’d meet primarily in part time office space, but have also met at the court or even once at a Starbucks.  Are home office lawyers ethically obligated to disclose that they don’t have offices?  Grant, I’ll leave this question for you.  As for other home office lawyers, do you tell your clients where you work?

  • http://tcattorney.typepad.com Traverse City Lawyer

    Your work product is the only thing you should be held accountable for. While I meet my clients at my office, I am hardly impressing them with fancy offices and an armys of other lawyers roaming the halls. They could care less. They want personal service and results. Your ethical duties are bound with your work product, not your location.
    I work from home whenever I can get away with it. Technology allows me to do so. And my clients don’t mind at all. I am also available on evenings and weekends since my office (ie, my laptop) is often right next to the waffle maker on Sunday morning. I return emails while juggling sausage links and herding kids.

  • http://tcattorney.typepad.com Traverse City Lawyer

    Your work product is the only thing you should be held accountable for. While I meet my clients at my office, I am hardly impressing them with fancy offices and an armys of other lawyers roaming the halls. They could care less. They want personal service and results. Your ethical duties are bound with your work product, not your location.
    I work from home whenever I can get away with it. Technology allows me to do so. And my clients don’t mind at all. I am also available on evenings and weekends since my office (ie, my laptop) is often right next to the waffle maker on Sunday morning. I return emails while juggling sausage links and herding kids.

  • lawmom

    I do tell clients that I office at home. I work one day per week at a client’s office, and the rest of the time, I am at home with two small children. If a client calls when my kids are not at preschool, the client needs to understand the potential background noise from my “assistants” and that I may need to call back after I have an opportunity to distract the children. I don’t know if there is an ethical obligation, but I look at it as the professional thing to do. I don’t want to try to decieve my clients into thinking I am in a stereotypical lawyer office. Also, they know that my rates reflect the fact that I have very low overhead. I have never had anyone express dissatisfaction with the arrangement.

  • lawmom

    I do tell clients that I office at home. I work one day per week at a client’s office, and the rest of the time, I am at home with two small children. If a client calls when my kids are not at preschool, the client needs to understand the potential background noise from my “assistants” and that I may need to call back after I have an opportunity to distract the children. I don’t know if there is an ethical obligation, but I look at it as the professional thing to do. I don’t want to try to decieve my clients into thinking I am in a stereotypical lawyer office. Also, they know that my rates reflect the fact that I have very low overhead. I have never had anyone express dissatisfaction with the arrangement.

  • Anonymous

    the professional thing to do is get a babysitter!!  If I called you and heard kids in the background” your assistants” that would be the last time I called you and I would of let other know about this.  Low overhead BS, We want one on one , not distractions from kids!!  People do not want a call back because your kids are acting up,. they want your undievided attention. Maybe you should go into daycare!!!!

  • Annul

    we can tell that you are serious by your excessive use of the exclamation mark!!!!!!!!

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