Coworking appeals to many legal professionals; however, some do not understand why it is appealing.
What is coworking?
Coworking – The Verb
Coworking as a verb is a type of work option in which professionals share a work environment. This does not necessarily mean that each working professional is affiliated with the same organization; it just means that they work around each other and any shared law office space is technically a co-working environment. This benefits attorneys in a variety of ways such as an invaluable referral system and even practice advice.
Coworking – The Noun
Coworking as a noun is indicative of the type of physical space where work takes place. These types of spaces are typically large rooms. They have a casual vibe as opposed to the traditional office space which may be a little more buttoned up and formal. Large tables are a common theme with a plethora of seating. The decor may represent a particular vibe and even some perks like coffee or beer may be available.
Is coworking – the verb – a good fit for lawyers?
When executed the proper way, coworking can be a suitable option for attorneys. This plays into the element of collaboration which is key in the legal world. Whether it is a client or other attorneys, the ability to collaborate effectively is important. Although the coworking term hasn’t been around that long, the practice of it has been around for years.
The act of collaborating is the base of coworking and what makes it so successful. Conversing with other legal professionals in retrospect is a coworking situation as will as an opportunity to show your expertise for other potential legal matters.
Is coworking – the noun – a good fit for lawyers?
For an at-home attorney in need of an inexpensive, professional work space to use from time to time, a multi-professional coworking center may be his or her ticket to a successful workplace set-up.
The location of your workplace is one of the most, if not the most important decision you have to make. One has to think about whether the location’s business culture is right for the clientele he or she caters to on a daily basis.
The center you select matters, especially in terms of the market. Some professionals might be better suited for a particular location while others may not. For example, one center may be better suited for a finance professional while the other may be geared more towards someone who practices alternative medicine.
3 Reasons why lawyers choose coworking.
1. It is much cheaper than a typical office rental.
Convenience is a prime selling point for coworking center as will as the affordability it promotes to attorneys in need of an office address. You can save some money while still being able to designate some place other than your home as your work place.
Coworking centers typically charge 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 serve as the most suitable option for newly solo attorneys who desire the benefits of a shared office space (i.e. the community, collaboration, etc.) without the full-time costs of a physical office. These benefits serve to help a lawyer’s career indefinitely.
2. It offers collaborative opportunities in a social environment.
In order to receive the most out of a shared office space, it has been our experience that those who use the space the most reap the most benefits. Attorneys are able to use a dedicated space and work around like-minded colleagues that are there to get a job done.
Having other attorneys around provides complementary support especially when the practice area is not your own. You can seek advice within your attorney network.
For example, in a B-to-C practice such as immigration, attorneys often have practice questions in family law, criminal defense and employment.
Having access to other colleagues is a pinnocal of a lawyers-only shared office space. This community of like minded individuals allows the idea of of full-service style representation to be more true and carry as much validity as possible.
3. There is an opportunity to increase your income through referral sharing.
When a work environment is collaborative, especially in the case of coworking centers, there is often the instance of client referrals.
Coworking structure is styled in a way that boosts growth by promoting networking and collaboration opportunities. An absence of physical walls displays the concept of easy access, therefore, it promotes and creates professional relationships that last. A friend made in the office has the potential for referral sharing which can have a direct impact to to your finances and fees.
This being said, referral sharing is a direct function of the types of members within the coworking community. Multi-professional coworking facilities generally skew to tech heavy clientele. Traditionally, these types of professionals are not the best referral source for attorneys. On paper, it may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, but in reality, these types of professionals are generally not in a position to refer meaningful business to solo attorneys and small law firms.
Depending on the firm or the needs of a solo attorney, coworking centers may be the best solution, especially if the center is exclusive to lawyers.