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Let's face it, attorneys are not the most popular people in the world. That's why there are so many jokes about us. So when it comes time to list your home office address for the state bar or on your business website, is it a good idea for an attorney to list his real address?
The lawyerly answer of "it depends" applies to this question as well.
There are some obvious benefits to listing your real address. If you do, it can let people know that you are in their community and understand the local issues they face. In fact, many people pick attorneys based solely on location.
However, there are some obvious dangers of listing your real address as well. Angry clients, jilted opponents, and others will know where to locate you.
Certain practice areas lend themselves to violence, and you probably will want to list a P.O. Box instead of your home office address, if possible. For example, criminal defense attorneys may work with clients who have a much greater propensity for violence than other clients. Similarly, family law attorneys work with very personal and highly contentious issues. It's not unheard of for divorce attorneys to be attacked or killed by angry opponents.
Even if you practice in an area that is not normally associated with violence like trusts and estates or immigration law, you should know that emotions can quickly become heated. Lawsuits and legal issues can bring out the worst in people.
For attorneys with home offices, you should exercise some caution when publicly listing your home office address. Perhaps renting space in a shared or "virtual office" where you can use a different building's address may be a good option for you.
Bottom line: Have a good sense of your client base and the issues you work on. It may work to your advantage to list your real address; however, just be aware of a dangerous downside to having your address publicly known.