Finding the “perfect” law office for you and your practice is a journey, but these tips will help you find the best office or work situation for your practice.
It can be a challenge when looking to find that perfect office space for your law office to work out of. You want all the amenities you need to function plus the benefits that will need to accelerate growth, but what you don’t need is a sky-high lease payment to go with it.
Keeping your rent terms and costs in check can make the difference in whether or not your firm reaches its full potential or struggles to get off the ground. However, finding everything you need in an office space without skimping is a fine line to tread.
These 5 tips will help you find the best office situation for your practice no matter if you’re a solo lawyer or part of a small or large firm.
1. Stop Looking For “Perfect”
I hate to break it to you, the “perfect” office space doesn’t exist! Be practical and don’t waste a lot of time trying to find the perfect space. Especially during the early stages of your firm’s life. Sometimes the best offices isn’t an office at all. Many law firms start with a virtual office, coworking plan, or work from home when first getting started and then grow into the best office situations as their practices grow too.
2. Go Where Your Clients Are
This is a vital step because we know that people who are looking to purchase legal services almost always prefer to work with a lawyer that is local. However, if you have aspirations to grow your solo or small law firm into a larger practice, then you’re going to need a way to essentially be in several places at once, without spending a small fortune. This is where executive suites come into play.
For a much lower cost, you can expand your practice by using virtual office packages or renting conference rooms at several different executive suites in many different locations, giving you a local presence in many different areas, without having to hire a massive staff or rent 10 different offices that you’ll never use!
3. Consider Shared Spaces
Law is a profession that is most successfully practiced in collaboration with other lawyers. The ability to brainstorm and get advice about legal issues or practice strategies is essential to everyday practice.
This is one of the largest reasons why lawyers flock towards shared law office spaces.
In a typical New York City law office rental, you may find lawyers who are open to collaboration. These are typically office situations where there are a number of small law firm subtenants.
Executive suites can be a more collaborative environment, but unless you rent from an executive suite for law firms, you may find an odd mix of clientele ranging from traders to tailors. Different professionals have different work habits that don’t always lend well to sharing space attorneys, who require quiet and, above all, privacy.
4. Identify Your Top Priorities
Often, you can’t have it all, so it’s critical to determine what’s most important to you and your law firm.
Once you know your budget, think about all the services your firm needs (internet, phone service, copy machines, reception services, HVAC, cleaning, kitchen pantry, etc.). It’s best to group these services into three categories:
- What you absolutely require.
- What would be nice to have.
- What you can definitely live without.
When looking at different office options, in order to compare “apples to apples” you need to really understand what is included as part of the deal. If the services your firm absolutely requires are not included (or are inadequate), then you will have to pay for these things on your own. One or two of these items can significantly increase the cost of your law office rental.
5. You Need Flexibility
Look for a space with flexibility, both in terms of flexible leases and flexible growth options. When your firm is just starting out, the future is unknown, and you also don’t know what office situation is going to be best for your work style and practice. You hope to grow quickly but if that doesn’t pan out, you don’t want to be locked into a costly, long-term lease.
That’s another reason why virtual offices and coworking has become so popular among lawyers. Both enable attorneys to work from anywhere at any time. Providing attorneys with increased opportunities both for growing revenue and maintaining a less stressful work/life balance.