Why do small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space?

By Stephen Perih - February 11, 2014
Why do small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space?

The top 4 reasons why small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space for their law practices.

What is shared office space? 

Shared office space is a fully equipped and move-in ready office environment that provides solo attorneys and small law firms a real estate option other than working from their home or signing a direct to landlord lease.

Shared office spaces, and shared law office space in particular, are attractive options for solo attorneys and small law firms because they provide amenities and resources that may be prohibitively expensive for a small firm attorney to financially provide themselves. These amenities can include:

  • A fully staffed, professional reception area;
  • Access to multiple, well-appointed conference rooms;
  • Law firm grade telecommunications equipment;
  • High-speed, secure Internet and wireless Internet; and
  • Professional grade copy equipment.

Why do small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space? 

Solo attorneys and small law firms choose shared office space for four main reasons.

1.    It costs less money than renting directly from a commercial landlord.

Why do small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space?Shared office space is significantly less expensive than a direct from landlord commercial lease. With shared office space, there is a much shorter term period and lower initial investment required from the office space provider (generally, a term of one year, one month of rent upfront and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent) than required from a commercial landlord (generally, a minimum term of five years, a large upfront initial payment, including a security deposit that can be six month’s of rent or more.)

Shared office space offers economic benefits with respect to office amenities as well. For example, a solo attorney may not be able to afford a full time receptionist in their own, however, the cost becomes more manageable when spread across 10 solo attorneys sharing the same office space. The same holds true for professional grade business machines, like copy equipment, postage machines, telephone servers and professional grade Internet.

In most shared office spaces, including sublets and executive office spaces, these amenities are already supplied and priced into your monthly rent payment, saving the solo attorney or small law firm the time required to coordinate and set up the office equipment, hire a receptionist, and pay for each of their ongoing cost.

2.    Collaborating with Officemates Gets You Quick Answers to Practice Questions

Why do small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space?The practice of law is becoming extremely specialized and lawyers are focusing on increasingly niched practice areas. Lawyers in certain practice disciplines often need the advice of other attorneys in complementary practice disciplines to fully and competently service client matters.

For the solo attorney or small law firm, sharing office space with attorneys with complementary practice areas allows them to fully service their clients.

For example, in a B-to-B practices such as M&A, an attorney may have practice issues during the scope of client representation involving other practice disciplines, for instance, complex taxation, intellectual property or employment law issues.

In shared office space, the M&A attorney can ask his colleagues to sit on meetings or co-counsel on deals. This provides both more competent client representation as well as the illusion that the M & A lawyer has a much larger firm than in actuality.

The same can be said for a business to consumer practice as well.  For example immigration attorneys often have ancillary issues that involve family law, matrimonial law and criminal defense.

3.     And collaboration also produces lucrative client referrals.

Why do small law firms and solo attorneys choose shared office space?Collaborative work environments, like those often found in shared law office spaces, leads directly to referral opportunities for the lawyers sharing space. The referrals exchanged among attorneys in a shared law office subsidize, if not entirely pay for, the monthly cost of the shared law office space.

For many small firm attorneys, this can add a significant amount of additional profit to their firm.

Of course, it would be important to find the right mix of attorneys. If a shared office space only has a limited number of offices, an attorney would want to make sure the some of the other attorneys practice in complementary areas of the law that will have the most potential for referral exchange.

For example, while a personal injury attorney can certainly co-exist with a bunch of tax or patent lawyers, the better fit from a business development perspective would be a suite with immigration, workers’ comp and matrimonial attorneys.

Being selective about practice niches is less of a concern in larger shared law office suite with many attorneys from diverse practice areas. For example, in a shared office space like Law Firm Suites, where over 125 attorneys in different practice areas share space, there will always be and opportunity to build a referral connection..

4.     Working in your own office space is lonely.

Shared office space provides a social outlet, making work that much more fun. Shared office space is collegial in nature. When functioning at its best, it creates a social environment where like-minded individuals can create long-lasting personal and professional relationships. It provides the best of what a law firm has to offer, in terms of collegiality, without the aggravation that can come with sharing economics with partners.

About Stephen Perih

Stephen Perih graduated Vassar College (no, it is not an all girl’s school) in 2005 before earning his JD from New York Law School. Stephen joined Law Firm Suites in 2012 as the Sales & Operations Manager. Since then, he has organized and emboldened Law Firm Suites’ community and accelerated the unique referral exchange among a rapidly growing roster of attorneys.

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