"Fair or not, lawyering from home raises eyebrows." - Joe Patrice, in article "What Does Lawyering From Home Say About You? Either You're A Genius or Unemployable," in Abovethelaw.com, September 16, 2014. Here you can read the article.
Lawyering is serious business. At stake can be trillions of dollars, terms and conditions about how you and your business partner will operate the startup, custody of children, the monthly nut you will be paying to the spouse until he/she gets a job, and your freedom. So, Patrice is right on the, well, money when he recommends that lawyers not interface with prospects, clients, and third parties from home.
Even the most professional-looking home office, with a wood conference table, fails to send the appropriate messages about success (i.e. track record), influence, power, and intuitive grasp about myriad gameplans. So, just forget that, for anything which involves meeting and greeting the outside world.
Shrewd operators, usually from the get-go, know to lease or barter for office space on a just-in-time basis. That last time I was covering this I found out that the New York City Bar provides conference rooms to members for an hour or so. It probably helps one's brand to conduct business from there.
Before it was okay for us in communications services to hang out our shingle on the condo door, we researched local enterprises which provided the whatevers which simulated a real office. In Westport, Connecticut, I had my mailing address and booked a conference room a few times a month. I toyed with the idea of bartering my marketing communications skills for either a regular or just-in-time office. From colleagues, I found out that frequently both parties wind up sensing they are getting the short end of the stick. Yes, just like happens in official partnerships, relationships can become and stay bitter.
The cost of a mailbox in the right location and for access to a conference room is tax-deductible. Patrice is right. Lawyers cannot do face time with prospects, clients, and third parties from home. At least not yet. Maybe never, given what's at risk in the details of client matters.