NYC Sublet Offices: They May Not Be Worth The Hassle

By Law Firm Suites - June 23, 2015
NYC Sublet Offices: They May Not Be Worth The Hassle

Inexpensive NYC sublet offices might sound like you’re getting a bargain, but it may all become a nightmare when things occur that you have no control over.   

Renting an office space can be a grueling experience. It’s typically something you want to do, but the experience can wear you out as time goes on. Many people are guided by dollar signs and even if someone sees a particular space as less adequate than another option, the lower dollar sign may be what has them running to it.
Someone who frequents a shared office space is typically looking for the biggest bang for their buck and a low fee can speak volumes 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. A lot of attorneys are skeptical and that’s okay. As attorneys, it is their job to question everything. Coming in off the street can make them see it as us just trying to close a deal.

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.

You pay for what you get and this will show mostly in the negatives the cheaper you go with rent. We rent our offices very easily, however, it takes some attorneys more time to understand why offices rented out by a firm are so inexpensive.

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

1.  Financial woes are typically the main reason behind a law firm office 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.

A quick source of income is necessary for law firms with empty offices. That is typically why these offices are priced so low.

Law firms with a bad financial standing commonly only go downhill meaning the situation gets worse. It is best to do your research about the company offering the sublet office so you do not find yourself in a bind later.

Think of NYC sublet offices in a firm as an extension of the firm. Anything the firm experiences will likely have an effect on you. Maybe not immediately, but it will happen over time. If your office is given an eviction notice, you have to find new space in the end.

2.  Getting a cheap office sublet means money won’t be spent on you to provide great service.

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.

The 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 typically have no rules or rules that don’t benefit your practice.

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.

These 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.  Don’t expect to be kept around.

Sublet offices should never be a permanent situation, however it is easy to get comfortable and treat it as a permanent situation. If you have a sublet office that works well, don’t take it as a good sign, because it means that the firm is doing well and them doing well will mean you are of no use to them anymore.
The sublessor may hire more people, see your office as necessary to take back and you’re suddenly given a notice to be out of your space. How rude!
Don’t take this personally. It’s just business and when a firm need the space, don’t think they’ll tread lightly when telling you.

5.  The sublessor has no plans to renew, leaving you scrambling.

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.


You office should be what’s right for you.

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

About Law Firm Suites

Law Firm Suites is the leading NYC shared office space for solo attorneys and small law firms. At Law Firm Suites, attorneys get headache free sublet office space, virtual office rentals and litigation hotel services. Law Firm Suites has two locations in Manhattan, one in White Plains NY, and one in Annapolis MD. Law Firm Suites' community of self-employed lawyers are eager to help colleagues succeed, and routinely exchange over $2.5 million in legal business every year in each LFS business center. Connect with Law Firm Suites on Twitter and .

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