For the Solo Attorney in Shared Law Office Space, What’s the True Cost of a Cup of Coffee?

By Stephen Perih - October 22, 2013
For the Solo Attorney in Shared Law Office Space, What’s the True Cost of a Cup of Coffee?

Coffee obsessed clients in shared law office space are pissing profits down the drain.  Literally.

Many of our shared law office clients are coffee aficionados. In fact, coffee obsessed might better describe them.

On a weekly basis, we accept packages of coffee beans from far off places like Italy, Uganda and Bolivia. We’re talking small production coffee beans here.

If you are ever offered a sample, the experience can be more formal than a wine tasting.

Small amounts of beans are ground, then steeped in hot water for several minutes. Milk is frothed and miniscule sips are taken.

Some of our clients’ coffee craving dominates their day. It is not uncommon for an attorney to have six cups before lunch.

Of course, there is the unfortunate biological by-product of bean bliss: java junkies spend a good portion of their day lingering in the loo.

It takes an average of 4.5 minutes to pee.

shared law officeFor the solo attorney, who has to stop what they are doing, grab a restroom key, walk to the restroom, do their business, wash, walk back, each visit to the restroom means several minutes away from their work. Factor in a hallway conversation or two throughout the day and the trips gets even longer.

Recently, we spent a day timing client trips to the restroom.  The average trip took 4.5 minutes, the longest 9.5 minutes and the shortest 2.2 minutes.

Factor in gear-up time once the attorney returns to his or her desk and, over the course of a month, you are talking about some meaningful time that could have otherwise been spent billing, or finding new clients.

At an attorney’s billable rate, extra trips to the loo can have a substantial cost.

At our clients’ typical rates, which range from between $250 to $600 per hour, the extra trips to the bathroom can start to have a meaningful impact profits.

Your love for coffee may represent a financial burden that goes well beyond the cost of a pound of rare, locally sourced bean.

It’s good practice to analyze the details of your day, to see where you may be wasting time.

Since time is the only thing of value our clients have to sell (professionally that is), it’s good practice to take a look your behavior once in a while. Pick a few days in a row and keep a calendar of your every activity. You may be surprised to learn how seemingly innocuous activities can take a significant time away from income production.

Observations from Reception is a bi-weekly blog series written by Law Firm Suites’ administrative staff designed to help solo and small firm attorneys in shared law office space practice more efficiently and improve their clients’ experience by analyzing practice behavior from a non-practitioner’s point of view.


About Stephen Perih

Stephen Perih graduated Vassar College (no, it is not an all girl’s school) in 2005 before earning his JD from New York Law School. Stephen joined Law Firm Suites in 2012 as the Sales & Operations Manager. Since then, he has organized and emboldened Law Firm Suites’ community and accelerated the unique referral exchange among a rapidly growing roster of attorneys.

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