Running a solo practice can get lonely. In fact, you may have been considering keeping man's best friend in the office. But before you fetch Rover, you should be aware that it may not always be a good idea to keep a dog (or any pet) in your law office.
Here are five reasons you should consider for keeping your pet at home:
- Not everyone likes dogs/cats/birds/etc. Some people consider keeping a pet snake a good idea. Others just find that weird. The same can be said for dogs, cats, and almost every other animal. The reality is that not everyone is a pet lover. In fact, some people may be scared by certain pets or have severe allergies. So while your pet may keep you company, it could also keep your potential clients away.
- It's unprofessional. How many of the biggest law firms in Manhattan allow pets in the office? Without performing a formal survey, I'm venturing a guess of "none." Even if you maintain a home office, you must maintain some decorum of professionalism. And a panting dog or a meowing cat typically does not jive with this professional appearance.
- Dogs eat paper. Your dog eating your homework may have been a valid excuse for your second-grade teacher, but it's not going to get you anywhere with your local judge. Dogs and other pets can be destructive. They like to chew, eat, and swallow things that should not be chewed, eaten, or swallowed.
- Raising a pet is time-consuming. Pets, especially dogs, need their exercise. Having your dog in your small office may be fun for you, but your dog will get bored. A responsible dog owner will have to take their dogs out for exercise and bathroom breaks. Are you prepared for 15-minute walks every couple of hours? How about when your dog starts whining to go out during an important conference call?
- Prepare for liability. If you do keep a pet in the office, you'd better make sure that the pet is well-behaved. Dog bites, snake bites, and cat claws could lead to plenty of non-billable work: i.e., you defending yourself in a lawsuit.
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