How White Plains law firms are using a virtual office in the City to get a leg up on the competition.
Here’s the bottom line: your potential clients can’t easily tell the difference between your firm and your competitor’s.
The reality is the average person just doesn’t understand the nuances of the legal profession. Nor do they care to.
But here’s what we do know. When people choose any kind of service provider, they prefer to work with local professionals they perceive as being successful.
You’ll notice that the word “perceive” is highlighted in the preceding sentence.
Yes, it’s important to have some track record of success. However, in many cases, clients are willing to pay a hefty premium not to the service provider with the most experience or best track record, but to the professional who does a better job of communicating their successes.
This is what makes testimonials and positive reviews so effective. Call it cliche, but that’s why lawyers show up to court in a car that’s nicer than that of their client.
One way that many White Plains lawyers are communicating an image of success is by opening a second office in the City. And they are doing it without breaking the bank by using a virtual office.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is a rental arrangement where attorneys can pay a low monthly fee (typically starting at under $100 a month) to rent the use of a premium commercial address and have access to office space and conference rooms on an as-needed basis.
Full disclosure, Law Firm Suites is a shared law office space exclusively for attorneys and is a virtual office option for law firms. But there are multi-professional executive suites and coworking spaces throughout the city that offer virtual office services at all levels.
Here’s why a second (virtual) office works so well for firms:
Clients believe that your firm must be successful if it can afford a second office in NYC.
Clients have this perception that lawyers with two (or more) office’s must have very busy practices. Why else would you carry the additional expense? Plus, they believe that opening an office in New York is very expensive, and for your firm to be able to handle that expense, it must be successful.
Like everyone else, your potential clients want to work with the best. And by adding another prestigious location to your firm, you’re giving them more of a reason to pick you over your competition.
Clients like the idea that they can meet you in the City. (but likely never will).
For many White Plains and Westchester County-based firms, it’s possible that a high percentage of their clients commute to the City for work. Having the option to meet in the City so they don’t have to take a significant amount of time off from work may be a big relief to clients.
In reality, the client may never need to take advantage of the opportunity. But simply knowing that the option is available may be that little edge that gets your firm hired over another where (to the client at least) all other things are equal.
Clients expect to pay higher fees to firms in the City.
Regardless of fairness or accuracy, clients located in the City or who still have strong ties to the City, expect that lawyers outside the City will charge lower fees than those within it.
And further, clients are generally more open to paying higher fees to attorneys with an office in big City.
We see this over and over with our own attorney clients. Firms from Long Island, Westchester, North Jersey, and even as far as Philadelphia, have reported that when they opened an office in New York City, they were able to command higher fees in their home office.
And an interesting additional twist, firms have reported that, after opening a virtual office in New York City, they started getting higher settlement offers from adversaries.
It’s a strange phenomenon, but hey, if it works then why not take advantage of it!