The four main reason solos and small firms choose shared office space.
What is shared office space?
A shared office space parallels traditional office rentals in many ways. The main difference is that a shared office is typically fully-equipped and allows for a turn-key approach to moving in. Basically, you do not need to do much to make the office work for you except for moving in your stuff. This shared space allows an attorney to do more than just work from home.
These shared office spaces are incredibly attractive, especially shared law office spaces when it comes to legal professionals. These spaces provide the resources and amenities necessary for a small firm or solo to practice efficiently without the colossal expense a standard commercial office lease might promote. These amenities and resources include:
- A fully staffed, professional reception area;
- Access to multiple, well-appointed conference rooms;
- Law firm grade telecommunications equipment;
- High-speed, secure Internet and wireless Internet; and
- Professional grade copy equipment.
Why are small firms and solos so attracted to shared office space?
Four major elements dictate why small firms and solos would choose a shared office space.
1. Fiscally conscious law practitioners can save money with shared office space rather than direct to landlord leases.
Standard commercial leases are EXPENSIVE, and this is the hard truth. Not everyone will be able to attain a standard commercial agreement just starting out because these deals typically require a greater financial commitment in terms of time and monetary costs.
A shared office provider may only require a year whereas a direct-to-landlord arrangement may be up to five years and a heftier down payment.
Amenities that come with a shared office space are also important to the attorney as well when it comes to financial expenses. For instance, a solo attorney may not be able to swing the costs associated with having a support staff. When divided among multiple tenants, the cost of a support staff provided by the a shared office is much more reasonable. This also works itself into other expenses, such as durable office equipment, telephone service, and even internet.
In a shared office environment, certain amenities come as part of the package which save the attorney time and money trying to find these supplies and resources on their own.
2. Working around other tenants with similar interests fuels the sense of urgency.
Law is an area that is becoming extremely specialized with each legal professional. Lawyers more and more have specific practice areas that they focus on in their career. Because of this highly specialized approach, attorneys need the advice of others in complementary practice disciplines to offer the best service possible.
For example, in a B-to-B practices such as M&A, an attorney may have practice issues during the scope of client representation involving other practice disciplines, for instance, complex taxation, intellectual property or employment law issues.
The shared office space makes it easier for the M&A attorney to have colleagues view meetings and provide a level of competency in client representation that may not be available to the attorney without the network of a shared office space.
The same can be said for a business to consumer practice as well. For example immigration attorneys often have ancillary issues that involve family law, matrimonial law and criminal defense.
3. And collaboration also produces lucrative client referrals.
The main difference that gives shared spaces an edge over typical commercial arrangements is the collaborative work environment. Referrals exist in this work environment which can mean the difference between succeeding as a newly solo attorney.
For many small firm attorneys, this can also add a significant amount of additional profit to their firm.
The right mix of attorneys is crucial to keep in mind when choosing a shared office space. Limited offices constitutes in depth research on the attorney network to ensure complementary practice areas exist so you get the most in referral exchange.
For example, while a personal injury attorney can certainly co-exist with a bunch of tax or patent lawyers, the better fit from a business development perspective would be a suite with immigration, workers’ comp and matrimonial attorneys.
Being selective about practice niches is less of a concern in larger shared law office suite with many attorneys from diverse practice areas. For example, in a shared office space like Law Firm Suites, where over 125 attorneys in different practice areas share space, there will always be an opportunity to build a referral connection.
4. The element of loneliness can hamper productivity. Shared office space works to negate that.
Shared office space is collegial in nature. When functioning at its best, it creates a social environment where like-minded individuals can create long-lasting personal and professional relationships. It provides the best of what a law firm has to offer, in terms of collegiality, without the aggravation that can come with sharing economics with partners.