There are lots of good reasons for lawyers to work from home.
It saves on commute time, office expenses, and other overhead. It offers flexible work hours, freedom to practice on the go, and the ultimate perk -- working in pajamas or flip-flops.
But there are at least three reasons not to practice law at home. The Number 1 reason is a practice-killer.
1. Don't Do Depositions at Home
William T. Coleman went too far to practice at home. He was holding depositions in his dining room.
It got out of hand, according to opposing counsel, when deposition participants were distracted by Coleman's family members.
They were walking through the dining room, talking on the phone in nearby rooms, and even cooking in the adjoining kitchen. "A dog wandered throughout the house and came and went through a dog door behind the chair where the witnesses sat," Above the Law reported.
That interrupted the deposition and led to a court order that Coleman stop the practice. When a court tells you not to work from home, enough said.
2. Don't Let Animals Rule Your Practice
Speaking of dogs, working at home shouldn't mean you are leaving your practice to the dogs. There are enough myths about lawyers practicing from home.
Many still think that real lawyers don't work from home. If you don't have a high-rise office, you are not a serious practitioner. Of course, that is so last century.
But if pets are chewing up your papers, barking while you are on the phone, or otherwise messing in your home office, then maybe you should consider a different approach. It shouldn't take a judge to figure that out.
3. Don't Forget Court Rules and Strategies
Judges really don't like it when counsel phone in for appearances and forget the formality of the courtroom. That includes broadcasting the sounds of paper-shuffling, keyboard-tapping, dog-barking, etc.
Plus, opposing counsel could catch you off-guard with papers filed in the courtroom at the time of the hearing. It's hard to reply to a written argument if you can't see it.
Practicing at home can be great, but sometimes it's easy to forget where you are when you are wearing pajamas or flip- flops.
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