What Is A Virtual Office And Why Do Attorneys Use Them?

By Stephen Perih - August 25, 2014
What Is A Virtual Office And Why Do Attorneys Use Them?

New York City virtual office arrangements provide solo attorneys a flexible, low cost alternative to a typical lease arrangement.

A virtual office rental arrangement is a financial arrangement, often in the form of a license agreement where attorneys pay a low monthly fee (typically starting at under $150 month in urban areas such as New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C.) 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 time and a well-staffed reception area.

Attorneys, particularly solo attorneys, comprise one of the largest segments of New York City virtual office users. Whether for lifestyle or budgetary reasons, virtual office users prefer to produce legal work-product from one place (out of town or from a home office) but want/need a premium commercial office address and a professional office suite to conduct face-to-face business.

In fact, many attorneys choose a New York City virtual office based on the address of the provider, thereby creating the image of the firms’ exclusivity and largess.

Why do solo attorneys and small firms choose a virtual office?

virtual office Virtual offices, especially a New York City virtual office, offers attorneys an alternative to large, up-front monthly expenses associated with other types of leases, such as a direct-from-landlord lease, a sublet arrangement, or a license agreement provided by an executive suite or New York City shared law office.

With a virtual office, solo attorneys can gain access to daily office space rentals and per diem conference room use in an “on-demand” arrangement. Therefore, overhead is much lower as you pay for only what you use based on your current needs. In addition, many New York City virtual office providers offer month-to-month arrangements with the ability to expand or contract. In contrast, most traditional office leases lock you in for a minimum of a year.

Traditional office services, such as guest reception and mail services may be provided as part of the monthly subscription fee and other office services, like phone answering and copy services, can be purchased on a monthly or per-use basis.

Essentially, a virtual office rental arrangement is the same as any traditional office rental in shared law office space, except with unbundled fees.  A virtual office is the “bricks & mortar storefront” for attorneys who prefer to produce legal work product somewhere other than a traditional office. In most states, a virtual office rental will be ethically permissible to use as a bona fide office.

When renting a virtual office from a provider who offers reception services as part of the package, your clients can go to the suite to drop off packages, and the law firm can receive service of process, mail and hand deliveries, whether the attorney is physically present in the office or not.

What types of attorneys is a virtual office most suitable for?

A virtual office rental is a viable option for any attorney looking to keep monthly overhead costs to a minimum. In our experience, Law Firm Suites has found three types of attorneys who choose to practice with a virtual office rental:

1.  Home-Based Attorneys

A virtual office rental is particularly suited for solo attorneys and small firms working primarily from a home office. It provides these attorneys access to the amenities necessary to practice effectively, such as reception services, a premium commercial mailing address and access to well-appointed conference rooms on a per-use basis.

2.  Attorneys Starting New Practices

Virtual office rentals are an affordable office space option for attorneys who are starting new practices. The low monthly price coupled with shorter contract term lengths than found with traditional office space rental help decrease the risk associated with starting a law firm. Virtual offices that are exclusive to lawyers, such as the one at Law Firm Suites, also provide a community for attorneys to gain access to referrals and practice area resources.

3.  Out of State Law Practices Seeking a Local Presence

Frequently, law firms with a main office in an adjoining state will choose a virtual office in a major urban area, like New York City, as an inexpensive alternative to maintaining a physical office in desired location. Often, their main office has adequate staff in their home office to handle any business they have, but choose a virtual office to access new legal markets and leverage the prestige a premium commercial office address in an urban center provides.

Expand your law firm into new markets by getting an inexpensive virtual office package.

eBook: “How an Out-of-State Virtual Office Can Help Your Firm”

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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