Law Practice Tip: Hide Your Receptionist

Law Firm Lobby
Every law firm lobby should include a string quartet.

As business people go, attorneys might be the worst offenders at doing things just because it’s what everyone else does. One example of this that recently dawned on me is the way they use their receptionists. Most park them in the lobby, and that's a terrible arrangement.

In most cases, your receptionist should not be sitting in the lobby area. A big firm might have to suffer this necessary evil, since many people will be flowing through the lobby and the receptionist must act as a traffic controller, but for smaller firms it makes no sense for a number of reasons.

1. It makes clients waiting in the lobby privy to all phone calls.

I recently attended a deposition in Los Angeles, and the four attorney firm had the usual set up with a receptionist parked in the lobby, behind one of those curved reception desks. My client and I sat in the lobby for a few minutes waiting for opposing counsel, and heard every phone call that came in. In most instances that might not be a problem, but someone called who was obviously upset about not hearing from one of the attorneys, and we heard the receptionist apologizing and offering excuses. Not very professional. Continue reading