3 Reasons why attorneys choose a virtual office
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office rental arrangement is a financial arrangement where solo and small firm attorneys pay a low monthly fee (typically starting at under $100 month) to rent the use of a premium commercial address in an executive office suite and the non-exclusive use of office space and amenities, such as conference room facilities, a staffed reception area and access to law firm grade telecommunications and office equipment.
What types of attorneys typically use virtual office rentals?
At Law Firm Suites, we have found virtual office rentals are most frequently used by three types of attorneys:
- Solo attorneys who recently started their own law practice,
- Solo attorneys who primarily work from a home office, and
- Solo attorneys and small law firms whose primary office location is located in another city or another state.
Why do solo attorneys and small law firms use a virtual office rental?
Different types of attorneys use a virtual office rental arrangement in different ways. At Law Firm Suites, we have found that regardless of the type of attorney choosing a virtual office rental arrangement, the reasoning for choosing a virtual office rental involves the following three considerations:
- Access to a community; and
- Professional image.
Why do solo attorneys who recently started their own law practice choose a virtual office rental?
Cost is one of the largest considerations for an attorney choosing to start their own practice. Often, newly solo attorneys would prefer to have a physical office, but would like to limit their financial overhead for a time period while they begin to build their practice and retain new clients.
In addition, attorneys who have recently hung out their shingle often seek a community of like-minded peers who can help them tackle real-time practice issues, provide advice on areas of law they may be unfamiliar with and tips and tricks on running the business side of a law firm. A lawyers only virtual office provider can help new attorneys establish connections with peers to improve their practice development.
A virtual office rental provides new attorneys with a prestigious commercial mailing address that can help give their practice credibility. They have access to well-appointed conference rooms designed to bolster a new attorney’s professional image during important client meetings.
Why do home-based attorneys choose a virtual office rental?
Solo attorneys working primarily from a home office often choose a virtual office rental as a low cost alternative to maintaining a full-time bricks-and-mortar office presence. While most of their work-product is created from a home office, a virtual office rental offers a professional space to meet with potential and existing clients.
One potential side-effect of working primarily from a home office is isolation. Home office based attorneys choose virtual office rentals because they are seeking a connection to other like-minded professionals. This is particularly true in a lawyers only virtual office program. These virtual office rentals offer networking events, access to referral sharing programs and practice development coordination.
Often, home-based attorneys choose a virtual office rental for a more professional image for their law firm. Many home based attorneys may be uncomfortable providing clients with their home address. A virtual office rental can act as a buffer between a solo attorney’s personal and professional life. A prestigious commercial business address also affords a home based attorney the opportunity to command higher billable rates than if they were just working from a home office.
Why do out-of-town solo attorneys and small law firms choose a virtual office rental?
Out-of-town law firms choose a virtual office rental as a way to expand their firms regional footprint at a very low cost. New York City is the legal and financial epicenter of the United States. Out-of-town and out-of-state law firms gain access to a new pool of potential clients at a cost significantly less than establishing a physical office presence.
By virtue of their geographic location, out-of-town law firms may need first-hand advice from a local attorney about the nuances of a new legal market. A virtual office rental, particularly a virtual office rental from a lawyers only provider, allows the out-of-town law firm access to local attorneys and local knowledge.
The professional image of a virtual office rental in an urban center like Manhattan allows out-of-town law firms to charge a higher billable rate than they normally would. A study conducted by the National Consumer Law Center discovered that New York small firm lawyers with 3 to 5 years of experience, on average, charge $59.00 an hour more than their New Jersey counterparts. Merely by renting a virtual office and including a New York City address on your website, business card, and firm letter head, out-of-town lawyers can charge more than their local counterparts.