Make a Great Impression with Your Office

The look of your office says a lot about you. Prospective clients make quick judgments about your competence based on the look of your space.

Unless you are a very unusual lawyer, you probably don't know much about interior decorating. In fact, if you're one of those lawyers who thinks that you're really good at decorating, you're probably wrong—sorry. The reality is that the kind of brain that's good at practicing law generally isn't very good at decorating spaces for living and working.

We are in the midst of a complete update of our home. It's going on the market tomorrow. We've been at this for many, many months.

Today, the photographs were taken for the real estate listing. The stager came in and set up the furniture and changed out some art and other accessories. She brought lots of furnishings with her and had us move out lots of things that we've lived with for a long time.

In the course of a few hours, she turned our house upside down. It went from being a relatively frumpy, suburban home to a showplace. The things she did with relatively inexpensive accessories are mind-boggling. This house hasn't looked this good for a single moment of the 17 years we've been living here.

Of course, you can do a fair amount yourself to improve the look of your office. You can eliminate the clutter and put confidential information away so that clients won't see something they shouldn't see. You can even do some basic decorating. However, you probably aren't going to make your office look really nice on your own.

You would be much better off if you brought in a professional to do the decorating in your space. I know we all think that we're good at decorating our space. In fact, many of us believe we're pretty good at just about everything. Unfortunately, we aren't.

Look, you expect your clients to hire a professional to get their legal work done. You'd argue until you're blue in the face over the value of having an attorney at your side as you go through the legal process. Why do you question the value of other professionals?

In a few minutes, a trained interior designer can do things that you can't do no matter how hard you try. I know that I could never have changed my house in the way that the stager did.  There is absolutely no way I ever could have made things look as good as she did.

You can hire an interior designer to come to your office for a small fee, and the designer will spend a few hours with you tweaking the layout, the art, and the furnishings. The decorator can make suggestions for you on things to purchase and tell you specifically where to hang pictures and where to put art objects. Sure, you're going to relinquish some control. You're going to lose a little bit of your personal style. However, you're going to make a much better impression on your clients.

The cost of the designer and the cost of any purchases you make will be more than paid for by the increase you'll experience in business. Let's face it, no matter how good a lawyer you are, you can't stop prospective clients from making judgments about you based on your surroundings. A professional can make those surroundings much more professional and attractive.

Respect the training and education of others. Interior designers have been through an extensive process to learn what they need to know to do their job. Don't hesitate: trust the designer. Hire an expert to take care of the look of your office. You'll be glad you did.

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