NYC Law Office Sublets Can Be Plagued By Nonsense

By Stephen Furnari - February 26, 2015
NYC Law Office Sublets Can Be Plagued By Nonsense

Cheap NYC law office sublets can seem like a great bargain, but their allure and excitement can be diminished by things that are out of your control.

You cannot win them all when it comes to renting an executive suite. Sometimes, dollar signs are the most important element of whether a person likes a particular office space or not and when someone hears that a particular space is “cheap” in price, they go running towards it.

NYC Law Office In a shared office space the type of prospect is usually someone looking to get a deal. Low monetary fees entice their interests even if they hate the space.

In comparison to other NYC office sublets rented out by another firm, what Law Firm Suites has to offer is much different. The resource of a professional staff to manage the site makes a world of difference. Also, shared office space provided by Law Firm Suites also provides an invaluable network of other attorneys that can help you to receive referrals that build your business indefinitely.

Our existing clients get it. They’ve had a taste of these benefits first hand, which is why we have the lowest turnover rate for any executive suite in NYC and we typically run at 97% plus occupancy rates. But for the skeptical attorney coming in off the street, it is understandable how attorneys can have the perception that our selling is just trying to get a deal closed.

This all being said, we can tell you that when we price our offices we secret shop all our competition, including sublet office space in NYC law firms. We know that our prices are competitive with what’s out there, especially when you consider things like aesthetics (our office was the former NYC headquarters of an AMLAW 100 Firm, and it looks it) and services.

Truth be known, not only do you pay for what you get, it will show the negatives more profoundly. Our offices are rented with no issues. However, some attorneys need time to learn why certain sublet spaces leased by a law firm are so cheap.

NYC Law Office Here are the top five things you should be afraid of with a cheap NYC law office sublet:

1.  Financial problems are typically the reason behind an NYC firm’s sublet.

A firm with that is subleasing an empty office space probably doesn’t have a good handle on its finance because it is willing to waste valuable billable time on finding someone to occupy the space. There are many reason the office may be sitting empty. Most likely it is they either took on too much space and need someone else to occupy the space so they can minimize their costs or the firm contracted their practice significantly resulting in the extra space.

Law firms price empty office below market because they need the income fast.

For a law firm in bad financial standing, the situation will likely only get worse, never better. Doing research about the subleasing company is of utmost importance for your NYC office sublet.

If the firm is in financial trouble and you have leased a space from them, anything they go through you will experience in some way. Think about if the office is given an eviction notice. You as a subtenant then have very little time to find a new space.

2.  Law firms don’t spend money to provide great service, which is why they can price offices cheaply.

An executive suite will typically have reliable high-end resources as it is a huge part of many shared office providers. Providing such resources requires the office to be managed by trained professionals which costs a pretty penny. Spreading this cost over multiple firms makes it feel like it’s less significant of an expense to have the resources that a shared office space provides.

An office manager or a managing partner of a said firm may be the one handling the “needs” for the subtenant. Often at times, the designated person is too busy to worry about helping your business because they are busy managing another.
One thing that is commonly sacrificed for a struggling firm is adequate staffing allowing them to price below market. You may save a few dollars on the actual space, but will find yourself hemorrhaging on resources elsewhere.

NYC Law OfficeThe two complaints we hear about most often are reception and internet services.

Most offices will have a receptionist that greet your clients. If the receptionist has a not so fresh attitude or is an embarrassment to themselves and others, it does not look good for your business. Even worse, the sublessor may tolerate this person’s ill-advised behavior leaving you with the only option of moving elsewhere.

As for internet, it’s not uncommon for law firms to have insufficient bandwidth causing Internet to be painfully slow. Your only recourse may be to install your own Internet line at a substantial additional cost.

Being a landlord is a full-time gig. The law firm that offers a NYC law firm office space sublease must manage landlord responsibilities in addition to their full-time legal practice.

3.  Landlords of sublet office space make up wacky rules (or have no rules at all).

One of the nice things about renting your own office directly from a commercial landlord is that you get to make up your own rules.  And sublessor firms do just that.

Common sense rules often come into play with shared office spaces just like any firm that sets it own rules. These rules usually follow what is best for the industry and has an element of consistency when compared to other centers.

NYC law officeThese rules help to keep the center a civilized place to work.

In a NYC law firm office space sublease, it’s not uncommon to have to deal with quirky rules set by the sublessor. Things we’ve seen, for example:

– You must have cherry wood furnishings purchased from Room and Board.

– The cost of paper is split between all lawyers whether you use the copy machine or not.

– You can use the conference room any time you want, unless your landlord’s firm needs it; then you’re on your own.

Quirky rules can be a common theme with shared office spaces. However, there can be the instance of no rules. No rules can make for a “unique” set-up such as odd or outlandish decorum, rambunctious neighbors, and so forth. It may reach a level of tackiness that is unbearable.

Some law firms know that they have odd rules, and are willing to price offices cheaply to entice someone into their wacky world.

4.  The sublessor law firm has no intention of keeping you around.

A sublet office that works out for you is typically the moniker of a successful firm. These firms that are successful may have no intention of keeping you long term and that is a problem.
If the firm hires more people, you may be ousted because the office space suddenly becomes a need for them. This is just business and you need to realize that you should have no long term plans to continue with this arrangement.

5.  The master lease is up in the near term and they have no intention to renew.

Similar to item 4, above, often firms have very little time left on their lease and they have no intention to renew. Partners of disbanding firms may be on the hook for personal guarantees, so they are hanging on until the lease term ends.  These firms need subtenants to stop the hemorrhaging of cash, so they price office cheaply to fill quickly.  Of course, there may be a lot less time left on the master lease than you thought, leaving you in a lurch when it runs out.

Sublet office space can offer a solo law practice or small law firm with a proper office at a good value.  That is, as long as you do your homework and understand exactly what you are getting yourself into.

Your law office rental should be something that is right for your needs.

Check out our eBook “An Insider’s Guide: How To Rent The Perfect Law Office.”How to Rent the Perfect Law Office

About Stephen Furnari

Stephen Furnari is a self-employed corporate attorney and the founder of Law Firm Suites, the operator of coworking spaces for law firms. Through Law Firm Suites, Furnari has helped hundreds of attorneys launch and grow successful law practices. He is the author of several eBooks, including “7 Deadly Mistakes that Prevent Law Practice Success” and “An Insider’s Guide to Renting the Perfect Law Office”. Stephen has been featured in the ABA Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Daily News and Crain’s New York. Connect with Stephen on Twitter (@stephenfurnari).

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