A shared law office is a unique space arrangement. Our clients have personalities as vibrant as the space. These are their stories.
I work at the reception desk at Law Firm Suites, a shared law office. Law Firm Suites has two office suites in both Downtown and Midtown Manhattan. Needless to say, with so many lawyers, I witness a plethora of quirks and odd behavior on a daily basis.
One of our shared law office clients is a coffee aficionado. In fact, coffee “obsessed” might be a better description. On a weekly basis, I accept packages on his behalf from far off places like Italy, Uganda and Bolivia. They are all small production coffee beans. Once, he let me in on a “tasting.” It involved grinding the small amounts of beans, steeping them in hot water for a pre-determined time and miniscule sips. It was more formal than a wine tasting.
His love of coffee dominates the day. It is not uncommon for him to have 6 to 8 cups during one work day. Yet, there is an unintentional by-product of his “bean love.” He constantly is shuffling by the reception desk and grabbing the men’s room key. He seemingly spends a good portion of his day walking to and from the bathroom.
This behavior, in and of itself, is not necessarily odd.
One study found 54% of Americans drink coffee on a daily basis and the average consumption is 3.1 cups a day. The financial consequences of our lawyer’s coffee obsession are devastating.
The coffee loving lawyer practices corporate transactional law. As a solo attorney, his income is dependent on the amount of work product he can produce and bill to clients in a given day. Our lawyer’s time is literally money. From what he explained to me, he generally charges clients by the hour as opposed to flat fee arrangements. With his experience, I would guess he charges clients $400.00 an hour for his services.
I thought about this. Then, I thought about how much time he spends each day shuffling to the men’s room as a result of his love of coffee. It hit me. He was losing money.
His love for coffee is not only a physical addiction but, a financial burden as well. It goes well beyond the cost of a pound of rare, locally sourced coffee and shipping.
My suggestion: solo and small firm lawyers should audit their time. Take a look at your behavior on a daily basis. If necessary, keep a calendar of your every activity you do for one whole day. Make detailed notes about every action you perform and the time it takes, down to the smallest bathroom break. I think you would be surprised about how much time you waste in a day on non-incoming producing behavior.