We’ve extolled the virtues and business sense of establishing a well-stocked office bar. But what if your client wants to meet early in the morning and does not want a Scotch and soda before dropping the kids off at school? A law office hot tub provides a great alternative in such situations. But before you install an office hot tub, prepare sufficiently for staff and client use. We also recommend that you address two important practical and ethical issues prior to taking that first hot dip with clients.
First, develop a written fecal incident response policy and review the policy regularly with your staff. Accidents will inevitably happen, particularly if your practice includes high stress or emotionally dynamic cases. Be prepared. Have a net or scoop nearby for formed stools or a sufficient concentration of chlorine available if there is a diarrheal fecal accident (the CDC recommends at least 2mg/L of chlorine for most incidents). In addition, make sure you record any accidents in a fecal accident log. Such logs are typically available for sale at most stationery stores. Some of the more enlightened bar associations may also offer free fecal accident logs as a benefit of bar membership.
Second, carefully consider the ethics of sharing a hot tub with a client. Most ethical rules do not specifically mention hot tubs. Nevertheless, we recommended that you consult with an ethics attorney first about your plans before you take your inaugural dip with a client. If you are a male attorney, get an ethics opinion first about when or whether you should go shirtless in the hot tub, either with male or female clients. If you are a female attorney, ask your ethics counsel to inspect your bathing suit and provide an ethics opinion as to the suit’s appropriateness. While this may feel like overkill, skilled ethics counsel will be able to guide you respectfully and quickly through this process.
Ultimately, simple preparation prior to installing an office hot tub can save you considerable cost and embarrassment later. While the excitement of incorporating a hot tub into your practice is understandably palpable, don’t get caught up in that excitement and install a hot tub without first resolving two important practical and ethical considerations. Once installed, though, enjoy the hot tub with clients, who will appreciate the chance to interact with you in a much less formal manner.