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An Off Hours Law Practice Is An On Point Idea

by Carolyn Elefant on April 8, 2008 · 11 comments

in Articles, Books, Client Relations, Marketing & Making Money

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One of the five "high impact" marketing practices that I discuss in Solo by Choice is non-traditional consultations, such as house calls or an after hours practice.  Not only are are non-traditional consults a way to stand out and accomodate your clients, but they’re also compatible with many solos’ business models.  Making house calls or site visits minimizes the need for a physical office, thus enabling you to work from home or in less expensive shared or virtual space.  And an after hours practice lets you keep a day job to keep revenue coming in as you get up to speed, or enables you to stay home with your children and work at a time when your spouse can watch them. 

I didn’t give many examples of non-traditional consults in my book because I hadn’t found many at the time.  So I was glad to see this blurb about James Perullo’s Bay State Legal Services After Hour Law is open for business from 6-10 for convenience to clients.  Many of the lawyers affiliated with the venture, like Perullo, work during the day.  My guess is that these hours will bring in clients who didn’t want to lose work time to schedule a daytime meeting with a lawyer.  Why aren’t more lawyers developing and implementing other types of nontraditional consultation times.  If you are, let me know in the comments below.

  • Susan Cartier Liebel

    Carolyn, many of the more creative lawyers I talk with absolutely visit their clients at their homes, have evening appointments and weekend appointments…some even have their office in a Winnebago and travel to clients’ locations. It isn’t just about cutting overhead, it is about offering clients’ convenience, going the extra mile which in turn reduces overhead once they realize they don’t need to maintain an office. Here is the example I mentioned above:
    http://tinyurl.com/3g9xgk

  • Susan Cartier Liebel

    Carolyn, many of the more creative lawyers I talk with absolutely visit their clients at their homes, have evening appointments and weekend appointments…some even have their office in a Winnebago and travel to clients’ locations. It isn’t just about cutting overhead, it is about offering clients’ convenience, going the extra mile which in turn reduces overhead once they realize they don’t need to maintain an office. Here is the example I mentioned above:
    http://tinyurl.com/3g9xgk

  • http://www.kimbrolaw.blogspot.com Stephanie L. Kimbro

    I work with my clients on off hours and on weekends with my virtual law office. It’s not uncommon for a client and I to be communicating online after midnight when both of our children have gone to bed. My clients appreciate that they do not have to take time off from work to come in to visit me. Using technology to provide legal services outside of a brick & mortar office is convenient for both clients and the attorney. More of these flexible law practices are cropping up and I think they a great option for solos and small firm practitioners.

  • http://www.kimbrolaw.blogspot.com Stephanie L. Kimbro

    I work with my clients on off hours and on weekends with my virtual law office. It’s not uncommon for a client and I to be communicating online after midnight when both of our children have gone to bed. My clients appreciate that they do not have to take time off from work to come in to visit me. Using technology to provide legal services outside of a brick & mortar office is convenient for both clients and the attorney. More of these flexible law practices are cropping up and I think they a great option for solos and small firm practitioners.

  • http://BayStateLegal.com E. James Perullo

    I agree that such a service is not novel; many attorneys work whatever hours are necessary to meet their clients’ needs. The only difference is the marketing concept behind it.
    Most of the public thinks of law firms as 9-to-5 places of business. And though there have been enough TV shows, movies, and books about the vocation and lives of attorneys to suggest that we work late hours, most people do not expect that we will come to their homes or that we would open shop to them at night. Bay State Legal is just working at getting the word out.

  • http://BayStateLegal.com E. James Perullo

    I agree that such a service is not novel; many attorneys work whatever hours are necessary to meet their clients’ needs. The only difference is the marketing concept behind it.
    Most of the public thinks of law firms as 9-to-5 places of business. And though there have been enough TV shows, movies, and books about the vocation and lives of attorneys to suggest that we work late hours, most people do not expect that we will come to their homes or that we would open shop to them at night. Bay State Legal is just working at getting the word out.

  • Valerius Antoninus

    I too am planning a similar model here in Austin, TX. I will keep my day job as a computer programmer, and will offer services during evenings and weekends. My practice area, Estate Planning, is one which does not require court appearances. And if I do need to do daytime work, my job is flexible enough to allow me some time off.
    One small detail that I have recently run into: The office space I’m leasing cuts off its HVAC after hours. Here in Texas, that’s an issue. Perhaps this is where the “i do housecalls” proves handy.

  • Valerius Antoninus

    I too am planning a similar model here in Austin, TX. I will keep my day job as a computer programmer, and will offer services during evenings and weekends. My practice area, Estate Planning, is one which does not require court appearances. And if I do need to do daytime work, my job is flexible enough to allow me some time off.
    One small detail that I have recently run into: The office space I’m leasing cuts off its HVAC after hours. Here in Texas, that’s an issue. Perhaps this is where the “i do housecalls” proves handy.

  • http://www.uniquelaw.com Kathleen Hunt

    I go to clients’ homes and meet with them on evenings or weekends upon request. I respond to calls and emails within 24 hours at the worst, and sometimes within 10 minutes. My flexibility allows them to manage their other responsibilities – and it does the same thing for me. I don’t work between 2:30 and 7 pm, because that’s when my son is home from school and needing my attention; with flexible arrangements like these, my clients don’t even notice those few hours, much less complain that I’m unavailable in the mid-afternoon (when most other lawyers are sitting in their offices). I have a home office which most clients never see, because they’d rather see me in their own living rooms. It works for everyone.
    Even better, this helps estate planning clients actually complete their plans. So many people have a tendency to put off estate planning – not many people like to think about their eventual death or disability – that sometimes making it easy is the only way they’ll get it done.

  • http://www.uniquelaw.com Kathleen Hunt

    I go to clients’ homes and meet with them on evenings or weekends upon request. I respond to calls and emails within 24 hours at the worst, and sometimes within 10 minutes. My flexibility allows them to manage their other responsibilities – and it does the same thing for me. I don’t work between 2:30 and 7 pm, because that’s when my son is home from school and needing my attention; with flexible arrangements like these, my clients don’t even notice those few hours, much less complain that I’m unavailable in the mid-afternoon (when most other lawyers are sitting in their offices). I have a home office which most clients never see, because they’d rather see me in their own living rooms. It works for everyone.
    Even better, this helps estate planning clients actually complete their plans. So many people have a tendency to put off estate planning – not many people like to think about their eventual death or disability – that sometimes making it easy is the only way they’ll get it done.

  • Basillashley

    I have recently begun  a solo practice in Florida. I am a registered patent attorney, but also have taken on an assortment of other cases in an attempt to build my client base and  expand word of mouth advertising. I regularly meet with my clients after hours and they have been very appreciative of my flexibility to meet sometimes as late as 10-11pm. I cant think of anything that would make me happier in practice than to be able to offer my clients this type of old-fashioned service. I also have conducted web meetings with clients via Skype when schedules make it difficult to have a face to face.
    I am marketing my practice with a focus on this personalized service. Although i have considered going the conventional route and leasing a “real” office, I’m quite content now to practice from my home office with zero overhead and offer my clients something they wont get from a larger firm.

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