An NYC Sublet Office May Not Be Exactly What You Anticipated

By Stephen Furnari - February 2, 2015
An NYC Sublet Office May Not Be Exactly What You Anticipated

Subletting an office space from another firm will never be what you had in mind for your NYC sublet office.

For a law firm, maintaining the office is not only a necessity, but a job in itself. This job may fall on one of the supervising attorneys or the firm may even employ someone to handle this job.
When a firm sublets one of their own spaces, it adds an additional burden of being a landlord that can get in the way of their main concern: the practice of law. When it comes to the needs of the firm, your needs will likely be placed on the backburner.

 NYC Sublet Office Being a landlord is not an easy job, especially for lawyers. When other concerns are the main goal of the said organization, it means that no one will ever be happy with the end result. A sublet space within a law firm is typically indicative of a firm that is not doing so great meaning their resources to service your needs are limited.
Without any doubt, you as a tenant are just a temporary source of income and your needs will be looked at more as a hindrance instead of a priority.

One of our clients recently shared the following story with us:

Sublet Receptionist: You received a call while you were out.

Subtenant Attorney: But I’ve been back for four hours…

A colleague sublet a single office from a real estate attorney. The office suite was nice but a little over-priced for the area. My friend liked the office and didn’t mind paying more than the going rate because the real estate attorney’s receptionist was going to screen my friend’s calls and greet his guests.

For whatever reason, the real estate attorney had a problem keeping receptionists. Every three months there was a new face greeting my colleague and his clients.  In between receptionists, often for weeks at a time, the reception desk stayed empty. Instead, the door to the suite was locked and incoming calls were answered by the paralegals in the back office. Of course, the busy paralegals that were prepping residential closings all day long resented having to take on the extra work.

More often than not, the real estate attorney’s staff answered my friend’s incoming calls with their own firm’s name (not my friend’s) or just outright mispronounced his name.

NYC Sublet Office Finally a new receptionist was hired.  A few weeks after starting the job, she stopped by my friend’s office to tell him that he received a call while he was out. My friend replied, “But I’ve been back for four hours, did you not think to tell me earlier?” Receptionist [with attitude]: “No.” My friend asked: “Did you get a name or number?” Of course, the receptionist replied: “No.”

He later learned the call was from opposing counsel looking to discuss settlement options on a gigantic case. He promptly gave notice to the landlord. Keeping receptionists wasn’t the landlord’s only problem. He couldn’t keep subtenants either.

When one goes the direction of an NYC sublet office space, it is often common for services to be included in the agreement that help small firms to keep their business running. Guest reception is a common perk in a shared office space and a quality receptionist allows a company to stay informed and supported indefinitely.
Even simple things like professional grade office equipment , conference rooms, and an internet connection are something that need to be managed by staffers. Firms that sublet office space typically do not have the adequate staff to service the needs of a subtenant, therefore the service provided may not be adequate.

This is going to be a problem for you. Know that.

NYC Sublet OfficeWhen someone is employed by a firm and the subtenant comes in, any job that is meant to service the subtenant is going to be a nuisance. Loyalty lies with the firm so if you have a problem, you are going to be left out to dry because you are not signing their paychecks. Even if you make friends with the staffers, their motives will always be in the interest of their employer.

Office staff typically never receives any additional compensation when it comes to taking care of a subtenant so never expect to be the priority in the office.

You will likely be met with the attitude of “not my problem” when it comes to your work.


Renting the perfect office space doesn’t have to be rocket science.

Learn more from our eBook “An Insider’s Guide: How to Rent The Perfect Law Office Space.”
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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