Offering commuter clients the option to meet in a virtual office near grand central says you care about their needs.
The first house my wife and I purchased together was in Larchmont, NY (which is in Westchester County for the folks who still believe that civilization ends when you cross a river North of Manhattan).
We were doing the “yuppies-leave-Brooklyn-and-move-to-the-‘burbs” thing, which also involved an increase in the family footprint.
So after the birth of our first daughter, my wife and I wanted to upgrade the lousy form Last Will and Testament I cobbled together using an online DIY legal form service (guilty).
We needed a more artfully drafted document that wouldn’t cause our daughter (or her guardians if we both suffered an untimely demise) any grief.
With estate planning, local is better.
Even though I had a large network of T&E attorneys in NYC, my preference was to find a Westchester-based attorney. My rationale was, if my wife and I died, our estate would have to be probated, and property liquidated, in Westchester County.
We wanted our executor (who lives in a different State) to have the option of dealing with an attorney with whom we had relationship, who we trusted, and who knew our family situation (which is a bit more complicated than most).
We also wanted someone who was plugged into the local business community since other professionals would have to be involved in the disposition of our estate and care for our daughter.
Also, I was pretty sure that the work would be less expensive with a firm based in Westchester as compared to one in Manhattan.
We ended up picking a firm in White Plains. We did the initial consult in their office, and everything else by phone and email.
But local is not always the most convenient, especially for City commuters.
When it came time to do the signing, my wife and I both grimaced (see this map and you’ll understand why). Since we both worked in the City, we would have to take at least another half-day off to do the signing ceremony.
It made me think, I bet we’re not the only clients of this firm who work in Manhattan. Why don’t they offer an option to do will signings in the city?
If the office was located near Grand Central, we could schedule an appointment on my way in or out of the city and lose minimal billable time.With T&E, local is better, but not always the most convenient (especially for commuters) #VirtualOffice Click To Tweet
T&E is one of the few practice areas where you still need to meet with clients for signing ceremonies. A satellite office location close to where the firm’s clients work is a brilliant service for T&E lawyers to offer. And can be done so cheaply.
Plus, if set up right, the attorney may not ever have to go to the NYC office.
A strategy to set up an inexpensive NYC satellite office.
Here’s how it could work:
For the limited time the firm would need the office, there’s no need to spend a fortune on physical office space. A good virtual office grand central (close to where your clients are catching the train on their way in and out of the City) is more than adequate.
This can either be with a shared law office suite, executive suite, or even at another law firm’s office.
All in, a basic package shouldn’t run more than $100/month (plus the cost of conference room time when you need it).
Done well, you may not even have to show up to your NYC virtual office.
Choose a facility that either offers paralegal services, or make arrangements with a firm in the space (or outsourced paralegal service) to have a paralegal find witnesses and run the signing ceremony.
Arrange for the exchange of documents in advance of the meeting and provide a copy of your script for the signing ceremony. The paralegal meets your clients, conducts the ceremony, and returns the signed documents back to you.A satellite law office close to Client’s work says you pay attention to their needs #VirtualOffice Click To Tweet
You check in with the clients afterwards, and they are thrilled because they didn’t have to burn their hard-earned vacation time to meet with you.
The minimal cost can be built into pricing, and for an investment that’s less than the cost of a good dinner out, your firm provides stellar customer service.
Don’t trust a paralegal to do your signing ceremonies? Do office hours.
Some attorneys may not want paralegals to handle their signing ceremonies. If that’s the case, then schedule one or two mornings a month to have office hours in your NYC satellite office.
Make arrangements to do some networking in advance and make a full day of it.
Most shared law suites or executive suites have day office space to rent. Simply choose a package that includes the time that you think you will need every month.
Virtual office agreements are typically month-to-month, so if you need more time (or less) for office space, change the package at any time to better fit your needs.
Taking the extra step meet the needs of clients gives your firm a competitive edge.
The bottom line: clients have a difficult time distinguishing one law firm from another. For a firm that has clients who commute into the City, a satellite office using a virtual office near Grand Central says that you’ve taken the time to consider their needs.