For solo attorneys, coworking is a great option because of its opportunities for collaboration, affordability and easy access to referral income.
What exactly is coworking?
Coworking occurs when professionals, who are not necessarily employed by the same organization, share a physical work environment. Basically, any shared law office space is coworking. For attorneys, the benefits that come with coworking are typically a steady stream of referrals and saving legal research time by asking an experienced colleague a practice question when it comes up.
Coworking also describes a type of office space where the act of coworking happens. Coworking spaces are generally large, airy rooms with a more casual feel than traditional office space.
Reasons why solo attorneys choose coworking:
In our past experience, we’ve noticed that the lawyers that receive the most benefit from a shared office space are the ones who uses the space most often. Through coworking, attorneys are able to utilize a dedicated space on an unlimited, first-come-first-served basis with fellow colleagues.
Lawyers in certain practice disciplines often need the advice of other attorneys in complementary practice disciplines to completely and proficiently service client matters.
For example, in a practice such as immigration, attorneys often have practice questions in criminal defense, family law and employment.
In a coworking center specifically for lawyers, attorneys have access to other attorneys for quick answers to questions regarding the practice, or otherwise can have them sit-in on meetings or perhaps co-counsel on a case. Additionally, in a shared office space with a robust community, by co-counseling with colleagues, solo attorneys in niche practice areas can offer clients a more “full service” style of representation should the need arise. The practical result is the solo attorney can take more cases in practice areas they might otherwise not be comfortable with, without the fear of committing malpractice.
Coworking centers offer an inexpensive alternative for solo attorneys looking for a premium commercial address and access to a well-appointed work space in an urban city center they otherwise might not be able to afford on a dedicated, full-time basis.
The typical charge for coworking centers are between $300 and $800 dollars a month for access to a non-exclusive space in the coworking center (read: First-Come-First-Served).
Coworking can be a perfect option for newly solo attorneys who are looking for all the benefits associated with a shared law office space such as collaboration, referral sharing, community, and co-counsel opportunities, minus the monthly carrying costs associated with a full-time physical office. Furthermore, the average coworking plan is 75% cheaper than a typical office rental in the same facility. This provides newly minted solo attorneys with the opportunity to lessen overhead in the critical first 3 to 6 months while they build their practice.
In fact, coworking offers an office option that falls in between a virtual office rental and a full-time physical office rental. Coworking benefits attorneys because it allows them to come to the office on an unlimited basis, whereas a virtual office typically provides from 4 to 6 office days per month.
3. Referral Sharing
Usually, collaborative work environments, similar to those found in coworking office spaces, result in client referrals.
These coworking centers are intended to accelerate and promote collaboration and networking. The best example of this is the absence of physical walls. An open- aired space promotes easy access to conversation among colleagues, which can create long-lasting professional relations. These professional relationships ultimately manifest themselves in referral sharing, which can offset the cost of your coworking facilities’ monthly fee.
This being said, referral sharing is a direct function of the types of members within the community. If a coworking facility is not heavily comprised of lawyers, there may not be a robust referral exchange.