An office space needs to be the right fit for an attorney and an NYC sublet office from another firm will likely not meet your needs.
Maintenance of an office space is not only something necessary, but also holds potential for becoming another job. For a law firm, a supervising attorney or even an additional employee may be needed to handle it.
Subletting a cheap office space from a firm a firm sounds like a solid plan, but one should know it’s likely a burden for the firm to be doing so, therefore, your needs as an attorney won’t be met to the fullest.
Being a lawyer is not easy and adding landlord to that just makes everything more difficult. Everyone has a different goal and your goals will not be something the firm has in mind.
Sublet spaces within a firm are usually a telling sign of financial woes and your main role to them is that of a temporary revenue flow. Even if they set out to find a subletter, it’s more of a hinderance than anything.
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.
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.
It is common for many perks to be included into the agreement when subletting a space. The perks are amenities, resources, etc.
A common perk is guest reception and it is important to have a quality receptionist to stay informed on day-to-day operations.
Other resources like office equipment, internet, and so forth are managed by staffers. Firms that sublet space may not have the staff to service your needs so your experience will be less than adequate.
Know that this will eventually be a problem for you.
Being employed by a firm means you handle all the firms problems and excess baggage. A subtenant will likely be considered some type of baggage that is a nuisance to the staff.
Don’t think for one second that your need will be made a priority because the staff will always remain loyal to whoever is signing their paycheck. That doesn’t mean the staff won’t be friendly, but just know they will always keep their allegiance to 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.