We secret shopped providers of virtual office in Financial District NYC to give attorneys insight into what they should be looking out for.
A virtual office may seem as simple as having a Manhattan address, but it can actually play a much larger role in the growth of your practice. Selecting the right virtual office will take some time and research.
You should never make any decision about your law firm without carefully considering your options and the possible effect your choice will have on the success of your practice.
We’ve done some of the research for you by secret shopping executive suites that offer virtual office in Financial District NYC.
It’s always good to check out the competition and, since we also only rent to attorneys, we do refer virtual office clients to our executive suite operator colleagues from time-to-time.
Office space that fits your firm
Since it is common for attorneys to meet clients in the city, it is important to select a provider of virtual office in Financial District NYC that has a professional office space.
Attorneys using a virtual office have a major opportunity to impress clients by bringing them to an elegant office in Manhattan.
Make sure you’re paying attention to detail when it comes to evaluating the quality of the physical space. In many cases, we found executive suites that were professional, but seemed to offer an atmosphere that would be a better fit for fashion designers, architects or tech companies.
The aesthetics of the office are important because of the impact it could have on the perception of your firm. Most clients have certain expectations about what a law office should look or feel like. You need to make sure your office aligns with those expectations or you will risk losing prospective clients. If you’re going to make an investment, then you should make sure the office offers the type of professionalism that is characteristic of a law office.
For example, you don’t want to bring a client to an office that feels more like the headquarters for a tech startup, which are known for being more casual, noisy and unpredictable. A virtual office space that doesn’t look or feel like a law office could indicate to clients that you don’t take your practice seriously and, by extension, will not understand the seriousness of their legal matter.
Receiving a warm welcome at reception and speaking to a staff member who is friendly, attentive and well-trained will make a huge difference in your client’s overall satisfaction with your service.
No one wants to come to an office with a rude or indifferent receptionist who can’t provide any information. It sets a bad precedent for your meeting and your client is likely already nervous because they’re worried about their legal matter. Being greeted properly at reception by both the office staff and their lawyer can help put clients at ease.
Additionally, if a client shows up to your office unexpectedly, then you want to be sure the staff members are professional and reliable enough to (a) know who you are without looking you up, and (b) politely take a message and quickly notify you.
Remember, you will be relying on these people to handle important pieces of mail, take phone calls and reserve meeting rooms for your firm. Their performance will have a direct impact on your practice; therefore, their quality of service should meet your expectations.
Networking opportunities that bring in new business
The biggest downside we observed while secret shopping for a virtual office in NYC was an issue that we find in most multi-professional spaces. There is often a lack of adequate networking opportunities for virtual office clients, which can result in a missed opportunity for a solo attorney who is starting out and needs as many connections as they can get.
In addition to offering great service, a virtual office provider should help clients connect with each other. It’s not unreasonable to expect your virtual office to lead to new business opportunities for your firm.
Most virtual office providers do offer general networking events for clients; however, these events are not profession-specific and usually highlight companies that have been successful in the space. These gatherings sound like more of a plug for their business than a real opportunity for clients to learn something or meet referral sources.
Floating desk space when you need it (even if you don’t use it often)
Many solo attorneys choose to work from home and use a virtual office because it is a cost-effective way to start a practice. However, some people find they are more productive when they work in an actual office, even if it’s only for a few hours each week.
During our secret shopping, we saw a lack of floating desk space available at some offices. In many cases, virtual lawyers who want to come in for a few hours will have to pay an hourly rate to rent the one empty office a provider has available.
We’re just wondering what they’ll do once that one office gets rented and they no longer offer a space on a temporary basis. Will virtual clients simply lose the option of working at the office?
This is also a problem because it raises an ethical concern for non-resident attorneys since the availability of a workspace when needed is an important factor in complying with the “office requirement” of New York Judiciary Law §470.
So what should you REALLY expect?
Your virtual office should be an investment. If you select the right provider, then you are going to see a greater return on that investment.
The right provider won’t just support your practice, it will actively help grow it. Beyond available conference rooms and workspaces when you need them, a proactive provider will routinely help find your firm new resources to make your practice more efficient, or new referral sources to make it more profitable.
If you’re spending money on virtual office in Financial District NYC, whether is $100 or $240 a month, then you should make sure it fits all of your needs, including those needs that are not always obvious. With the right provider, your virtual office can be more than an address and mail collection. It can be a tool that helps you succeed as a solo attorney.