Increase Practice Profitability with an Office Bar

One of the hardest things to do as an attorney is to get clients coming  through your office door. After you get them in your office, though, do you have a strategy to keep them there, at least for a sufficient amount of time? You should, as studies indicate that keeping your client longer in the office can lead to more time billed to that client, ultimately increasing the profitability of your practice.

One of the best and most overlooked options is to establish a well-stocked office bar. While popular in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s, the presence of an office bar diminished precipitously in the 1970′s. Lawyers may have been partially responsible for its demise, but savvy attorneys today should bring it back to the forefront of a solid client marketing plan.

What do you need? A trip to your local liquor store to pick up booze, an ice bucket, tongs, at least six double Old Fashioned glasses, and some cocktail napkins. You’ll also need a place in the office to keep your booze and accoutrements, but don’t hide them. Make sure wherever you establish your bar that clients and others see it as soon as they walk in. Nothing says you are relaxed, savvy, and supremely confident than an open bar stocked with gin, bourbon, scotch, and Disaranno.

A word to the wise, though. Times have changed since the early 1960′s, and you’ll need to be careful how you set up your bar and serve clients with free booze. Why? Because today’s  diverse client base has a much wider range of drink preferences. The dominant days of bourbon and scotch are over. Any properly-stocked bar in an attorney’s office today should, in addition to scotch, gin, bourbon, and tequila, have at least one bottle of red wine and a good bottle of Puerto Rican rum. It’s also recommended that you have various mixers, including soda, to accommodate the many different tastes clients now have for mixed drinks.

With the right booze selections and prominent set up of your office bar, you should be able to establish a great reputation in the legal community and among your clients. We’ll post later on the top five mixed drinks to attract clients, but in the meantime, let us know the top drink that you use to keep clients in the office and firm profits increasing.

Comments

  1. Dorothy Topete says:

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

    • Amy Derby says:

      Ms. Topete,

      We are delighted that you found our post about office bars so helpful. You may also enjoy our related post: Practical and Ethical Considerations for the Office Hot Tub.

      I have consulted with Chank, the Big Brain upstairs, about your taking part of our post to your blog. Unfortunately, he would prefer that our posts stay here where he can keep an eye on them and call security if things get out of control. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation on this.

  2. anonse erotyczne says:

    Hello, I think your blog is epic. Congrats.

    • Amy Derby says:

      Anonse,

      Thank you for your kind congratulations. We are always happy to be classified as epic rather than as an #epicfail. Have you seen our post about subliminal hashtaggage? I think you’ll surely enjoy it and perhaps even learn something!

      Cheers.

  3. Now, if cigars could be offered with the drinks, that would be ideal. Also, I’m assuming bill rates would increase to cover the costs of those “free” drinks.

    • Thanks for the feedback and tip. We may try to cover using cigars effectively in your practice. As for hourly rate increases, it really comes down to the economics. We recommend you value the cost of the drinks at 1 1/2 times the hotel bar rate for similar drinks at a four star hotel. If using that value you find that you are not covering costs by increased time spent by the client in the office, you should consider increasing your hourly rates to cover more of the cost. I believe there may be an app for this valuation on iTunes.

      • Say someone consumes an alcoholic drink or two during a session and then gets in an accident afterward. Would I be liable?

        • Rolson:

          It’s something, certainly, to consider. But as we advise our law practice clients, any modern retainer agreement will have provisions that deal with office drinking and socializing, in the same way we also advise them to include provisions about clients using the office fax machine, laminator, or three-hole punch. While a proper retainer agreement cannot limit all risks, there are some risks that are so remote (e.g., injury from a paper cutter that has properly installed safety guards) that it is often worth accepting that slight risk to work effectively with clients.