The four main reasons why solos and small firms want to use a shared office space for their practices.
What is shared office space?
A shared office space parallels traditional office rentals in many ways. The main difference is that a shared office is typically fully-equipped and provides you with the tools you need to run a law firm minus the huge overhead. Basically, you do not need to do much to make the office work for you except for moving in your stuff. These shared office spaces are really attractive to solo and small practices because they include amenities such as:
- A fully staffed, professional reception area;
- Access to multiple, well-appointed and spacious conference rooms;
- Law firm grade telecommunications equipment;
- High-speed, secure Internet and wireless Internet; and
- Professional grade copy equipment.
Why are small firms and solos so attracted to shared office space?
There are four main reasons why small firms and solos choose to use shared office space:
1. Save money
Standard commercial leases are EXPENSIVE (like extremely expensive!), and this is the hard truth. The incredible amount of money required to rent your own commercial space prevents many new law firms from even getting off the ground.
Also, a shared office provider may only require a one year lease, whereas a direct-to-landlord arrangement may be up to five years plus a massive down payment.
Amenities that come with a shared office space are also important to the attorney as well when it comes to financial expenses. For instance, a solo attorney may not be able to swing the costs associated with having a support staff, office equipment, telephone service, and even internet.
In a shared office environment, certain amenities come as part of the package, saving lawyers time and money.
2. Draw from a deeper bench by getting advice from your neighbors
Law is a very specialized profession. Lawyers more and more have specific practice areas that they focus on. Because of this highly specialized approach, attorneys often need the advice of others in complementary practices.
For example, in a B-to-B practice such as M&A, an attorney may have practice issues during the scope of client representation involving other practice disciplines, for instance, complex taxation, intellectual property or employment law issues.
The shared office space makes it easier for the M&A attorney to have colleagues view meetings and provide a level of competency in client representation that may not be available to the attorney without the network of a shared office space.
3. Serious client referrals
The main difference between shared spaces and typical commercial arrangements is the collaborative work environment. Referrals are way more common in shared spaces. And that additional revenue can make a world of difference for a small firm or newly solo attorney.
The right mix of attorneys is crucial to keep in mind when choosing a shared office space. For example, while a personal injury attorney can certainly co-exist with a bunch of tax or patent lawyers, the better fit from a business development perspective would be a suite with immigration, workers’ comp and matrimonial attorneys.
Being selective about practice niches is less of a concern in larger shared law office suite with many attorneys from diverse practice areas. For example, in a shared office space like Law Firm Suites, where over 125 attorneys in different practice areas share space, there will always be an opportunity to build a referral connection.
4. Work becomes more social and enjoyable
Shared office space is collegial in nature. When functioning at its best, it creates a social environment where like-minded individuals can create long-lasting personal and professional relationships. It provides the best of what a law firm has to offer, in terms of collegiality, without the aggravation that can come with sharing economics with partners.