You head a conventional law practice with outside offices, staff, and other overhead. It is too much in your mind and you start to feel there is the need for a change. How nice would it be to rid yourself of the chains of overhead, costs and debt? How wonderful it would be to downshift into an environment that would be more peaceful and less complicated?
I personally think it is a thought that most solo and small firm lawyers encounter at some point in their careers, but there is some danger in making the change.
Unlike many who might think the danger is actually making the change to a home office or a small office, I tend to think the danger comes in not making the move more dramatically and with all due haste.
There is always a tendency in all of us to hesitate and to hedge our bets. We do not want to hurt those working with us with abrupt decisions. We know there needs to be a change, but we feel responsible for those who have worked with us over the years. So, we think we need to make these changes in stages or over times. This can be tragic for the reason that downsizing or downshift requires you live on less earnings (but more profit), while the traditional office requires more earnings to continue. So, as you downsize gradually you reach a crises point when you are not earning enough to fund the old office and environment or, worse, you lose all of your profit (meaning the money on which you live) in the process.
There is a tendency in downsizing and downshifting in fooling ourselves. This is because we do not want to disappoint those working for us, or landlords who are working to get us to sign a new lease, or clients that are use to a different way of business. We also worry about what others will think of us if we make a drastic move. But, it is important not to fall into this trap. You must make brutally honest statements to your staff and others as to what is about to happen, why and how fast it is going to happen. You need to work with speed so as to cut overhead faster than your earnings.
What is most important is that the transition be as quick as possible.