Why Your New York Virtual Office Matters to Clients

By Stephen Furnari - February 9, 2016
Why Your New York Virtual Office Matters to Clients

The quality of your New York virtual office isn’t only dependent on an address. An analysis of a virtual office rental from a client’s perspective.

Two key reasons why solo attorneys use a virtual office in New York City are: to have a professional address that gives them a presence in the city and to have a flexible office available for meetings.

Essentially, selecting a New York virtual office is often a decision solo attorneys make in order to make a good impression on their clients. However, sometimes it can be difficult for lawyers to get into the mindset of their ideal client and really understand what they expect.

Selecting a New York virtual office is often a decision attorneys make to impress clients Click To Tweet

We’ll take you through the process of what a client might be looking for when searching for an attorney and why your New York virtual office will matter to clients.

Searching for an attorney

From a client’s perspective, if I need a lawyer for any reason, then I want to make sure I have the best. But how do I determine who is the best?

Perhaps a close friend referred an attorney to me, which makes my search a little easier. However, I don’t make decisions based solely on recommendations so I need to do some research on this attorney.

I type his or her name into Google and see what comes up in the search results. The firm website looks impressive and their social media presence looks credible. Additionally, I see they have an office in New York City, which means they must be successful.

I decide to set up a consultation and now the real test begins.

Evaluating the receptionist

Even before I meet this attorney, I’m meeting their receptionist. There are some basic qualities of a good receptionist that I will be looking for once I walk in.

Did the receptionist make me feel acknowledged? Was I greeted with warmth and a smile? Were they able to answer questions with confidence and appear competent?

I don’t know that I’m meeting my potential attorney at a virtual office so I’ll assume the staff are his or her employees. I expect these employees to provide the same type of helpful and responsive service that I also want from my attorney.

Looking at the quality of their office

From the moment I walk into their office, I’m going to be scrutinizing every aspect of this attorney to determine whether their level of professionalism and competency aligns with my expectations. I’m analyzing everything from the way they dress to the way they speak to decide if I want to hire this person. And there is even one more aspect I’m looking at that is sometimes overlooked: their office.

While, I’m sitting in reception I’ll have nothing else to do except stare at my surroundings. It’s human nature to form small judgements about all of these things, even if the thought is just fleeting.

The same thing will happen once my attorney greets me at reception and brings me into the conference room. I’ll notice if the walls don’t look like they’ve been painted in a while or if the furniture looks cheap. No one wants to hire an attorney who’s giving them advice from a pop-up table and fold-out chair.

Does the office say something about the attorney’s competency?

When I show up to meet an attorney at their office I have a certain expectation about what the attorney will look like and what their office environment will be like.

I would expect my lawyer’s office to be, well, lawyerly. Something that is befit of the seriousness of the legal matter for which I will be retaining you. A proper law office has certain features to it that other offices do not have.

I would expect my lawyer’s office to be lawyerly Click To Tweet

An open concept office suite with concrete floors and sliding glass office doors may be great when I’m hiring a Web designer; however, if I need to chat with counsel about my contentious child custody case, I don’t want to worry that the entire office will hear our conversation. This is just one example of the ethical considerations with a virtual office.

Using a virtual office space that doesn’t look or feel like a law office may signal to clients that you don’t take your practice seriously and, therefore, will not appreciate the seriousness of my case.

The client experience isn’t only about returning my emails on time and performing good work. You have to manage expectations in the way you work with your client and the atmosphere you bring your client into.

As an attorney, your address, the office staff and the way your office looks could make or break a client’s decision to hire you. Your New York virtual office should not only represent who you are as an attorney, but meet your potential clients’ perception of you as well.

About Stephen Furnari

Stephen Furnari is a self-employed corporate attorney and the founder of Law Firm Suites, the operator of coworking spaces for law firms. Through Law Firm Suites, Furnari has helped hundreds of attorneys launch and grow successful law practices. He is the author of several eBooks, including “7 Deadly Mistakes that Prevent Law Practice Success” and “An Insider’s Guide to Renting the Perfect Law Office”. Stephen has been featured in the ABA Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Daily News and Crain’s New York. Connect with Stephen on Twitter (@stephenfurnari).

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