While technology may provide you with the ability to run a truly virtual law office, that doesn’t mean that you should. A carefully chosen New York City virtual office rental may help ally reservations prospective clients may have about your virtual law practice.
The availability of inexpensive technology has made running a truly virtual law office easy. Eliminating overhead on office rental space may be tempting, but your prospective clients may not be so quick to embrace your decision to rid yourself of bricks and mortar, particularly in certain practice areas where clients still want to look their counsel in the eyes.
Here are 3 benefits virtual law office attorneys get with an inexpensive virtual office rental.
First of all, what is a Virtual Law Practice?
A virtual law practice (VLP) is a legal practice that does not necessarily have a brick-and-mortar office, but instead, maintains a law practice that is entirely web-based. Legal work is done remotely and typically delivered to clients using secure, cloud-based software that has a log-in portal and can be accessed by both clients and attorneys anywhere an internet connection is available. Since attorneys work remotely from home or a satellite office, client meetings can take place at the client’s location, in a rented conference room or over phone or video conference. This type of practice can exist with a virtual law office or a virtual office rental.
What’s the difference between a virtual law office and a virtual office rental?
The main difference between a virtual law firm and a virtual law office rental is that the former does not necessarily have any brick-and-mortar place of business associated with it. The firm can operate in a purely online capacity. And while attorneys who operate virtual law firms often also subscribe for a virtual office rental arrangement, it is not done universally.
By contrast, a virtual law office rental has the same features and amenities as any traditional leased office space in a shared law office suite, but with an unbundled financial arrangement and non-exclusive use of a workspace. Instead of a big, up-front monthly expense associated with a traditional office lease, attorneys can rent office space and conference rooms by the hour or day on an as-needed basis. Guest reception and mail services are 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.
A truly “virtual” law office may challenge client perceptions.
Let’s face it; clients can be wary of even the most reputable looking establishments. So, imagine their concerns if their only option is to meet with an attorney over a Skype call. Depending on your practice area and the technological sophistication of your typical clients, having a purely virtual law office may be a detriment to your practice. A virtual law office rental can give attorneys the credibility they need to get ahead.
For example, you may happily work from your apartment that is located in a trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn, and list that address as your primary place of business in New York, as required by the Bar. However, like it or not, your non-Brooklynite prospective clients and adversaries give Brooklyn lawyers “suburban” credibility (no matter how ignorant they may be). As a result, clients will expect significantly discounted rates (that is, if they don’t overlook you in lieu of your New York County competitors) and adversaries will look to take advantage of your seemingly “less-proficient” skills.
After all, to most of the world, Manhattan is the epicenter of New York City commerce, and if you’re not there, there must be something wrong with you (at least that’s what prospective clients may be thinking).
The address you choose for your practice is an important part of your professional identity. A Midtown NYC virtual office address, for example, will help you gain access to new clients who may not have even considered your firm because of its Brooklyn address. Brooklyn may give you social credibility, but a Midtown NYC virtual office address gives your law practice business credibility.
The 3 Top Benefits of a Virtual Office Rental for VLOs
Like we mentioned in the previous section, a purely virtual law office can make clients a little wary of trusting someone with their legal matters. However, a carefully chosen virtual office rental can completely allay any fears a client might have by providing a well taken care of office space in the best part of town.
A New York City virtual office rental with a robust community of attorneys can help you save hundreds of dollars in lost billable hours trying to solve pesky practice issues. You know . . . the ones that can take hours to figure out on your own, but can be resolved in a three minute conversation with a lawyer who has dealt with the issue before?
In a good virtual office community, other attorneys know that next time it may be them who need the advice. For any practice area issue, you’ll generally find many helpful resources.
A carefully chosen virtual office rental can offer access to a community of colleagues who can provide you with a stream of potential income. For example, Law Firm Suites’ clients in our Financial District location exchanged over $2.5 million in legal business last year. A significant portion of those referrals were generated from our virtual office community.
So, remember: a well-chosen virtual office rental program can be the connection to other attorneys that the home-based lawyer needs to be successful. Home based attorneys should look for a virtual office rental program that is lawyers only, or has a high concentration of attorneys, and where the management actively provides opportunities for virtual office rental attorneys to connect with each other.
When considering a virtual office NYC provider, look for an operator that sponsors regular networking events, access to referral sharing programs or practice development coordination. Make the leap from virtual law office to working in a virtual office rental. You’ll be glad you did.