Law Firm Suites, New York’s leading operator of shared office space for attorneys, announces the launch of a NYC coworking space for lawyers in its new Midtown Manhattan law office suite.
New York, NY – Is coworking a viable office choice for attorneys?
Corporate attorney and founder of New York City based shared law office space operator Law Firm Suites, Stephen Furnari, thinks so.
What is Coworking?
Coworking is a style of work where professionals, who are not necessarily employed by the same organization, share a physical work environment, and have similar values and professional habits.
Recently, however, the term coworking has been used to describe a type of physical workspace that, for the most part, consists of large, airy rooms with a more casual feel than traditional office space.
Think professionals working at ‘Last Supper’ style tables and chairs, clever decor, white board walls, lots of coffee and sometime beer.
“The term coworking may be new to some lawyers,” says Furnari, “but in reality, solos and small law firms have been coworking long before the term became a commercial real estate ‘movement’. Any shared law office space is technically coworking.”
In large cities like New York or DC where commercial rents are high, solos and small firms cowork out of financial necessity. “For many lawyers, getting your own commercial lease can be an economic impossibility,” says Furnari. “Sharing space is often the only cost effective way to get an office in a decent building.”
In its version of a coworking space, Law Firm Suites has taken some of the good parts of multi-professional coworking and applied it to the unique needs of its all-attorney clientele.
Says Furnari, “we’re going for more of law library study lounge atmosphere than the bocce ball playing, techie-hipster-zone that you can find in a typical coworking space.”
The Benefits of Coworking with Lawyers
For attorneys, there can be a substantial benefit to coworking with other lawyers, including a steady stream of client referrals or the convenience of asking a suitemate a practice question, which can save hours of research time. This is certainly the case at Law Firm Suites, which according to Furnari, generates about $3 million in annual referrals for its clients through its unique referral system.
Especially Well-Suited for Home-Based Firms
Home-based attorneys will likely benefit most from Law Firm Suites’ coworking space, in particular attorneys starting new practices who will learn a lot about running a successful law practice from more experienced colleagues.
“Many of our virtual office clients with home-based law practices want to get out of their homes and work in a law firm-like environment from time-to-time,” says Furnari, “but they don’t necessarily want to carry the overhead of a permanent workspace.”
According to Furnari, by not getting into the office more frequently, these lawyers do not maximize the full value of Law Firm Suites’ all-lawyer community.
“We do a good job of getting our virtual office clients to engage with our entire community,” says Furnari, “but it’s consistently the attorneys who show up to the office most frequently that reap the biggest benefits in terms of referral and co-counsel opportunities.”
So when Law Firm Suites took on its new office space in Midtown Manhattan, management decided to allocate a portion of the suite for a coworking space.
“Our hope is that our new coworking space will give home-based attorneys a cost effective opportunity to work in the office more frequently so they can get the most value from our community,” says Furnari.
Law Firm Suites coworking packages start at under $500 per month, which gets attorneys unlimited access to non-dedicated workspace. Agreements are month-to-month, so no long term commitment is required.
The Cost and Commitment
For Law Firm Suites, the biggest challenge will be educating attorneys, who may be unfamiliar with the coworking space concept, that it is a viable office alternative.
But even despite this hurdle, according to Furnari, Law Firm Suites’ new coworking space has received a very positive response. “Within only a couple of weeks of opening our new Midtown shared office suite, several attorneys have already signed up for our coworking program.”
Law Firm Suites’ new Midtown Manhattan coworking space for lawyers is located at 830 Third Avenue (at 50th Street) in New York City.
For more information or to schedule a tour, call Stephen Perih at (212) 269-3600.