A Letter from Law Firm Suites’ founder, Stephen Furnari
I didn’t plan to be a landlord. I simply wanted the things from an office space that would make my law practice more successful.
How Law Firm Suites got started:
I needed more space and better ‘stuff’ for my own law practice. It’s that simple.
At the time, I needed more office space and better office equipment than what my then-current office arrangement could provide.
My firm really only needed three offices and a few workstations, but I wanted to give clients the impression that my firm was bigger than what it was, so I rented a much bigger space than what I required.
I felt that a bigger office would make my discerning financial industry clients more comfortable working with my small firm. Whether this was true or not, it helped me land more clients.
Law Firm Suites got its start in 2007 in a 5,000 SF office suite with 11 offices.
In my old office, referrals from my suitemates consistently paid my rent.
My previous office was a space sharing arrangement with three other attorneys. We exchanged a lot of business in that suite. Just about every year I received $80,000 in new business referrals from the other lawyers, and I referred out over $100,000 in business to them.
The $80,000 was not enough to make a practice, but it paid my rent three times over.
Why couldn’t this suitemate referral exchange work with other lawyers?
I couldn’t afford the new space all on my own, so my plan was to rent the eight extra office spaces to other attorneys. I had never done something like this before and, frankly, I was a little nervous about it.
But I figured that if I could replicate this suitemate referral exchange concept with the new lawyers, I could, effectively, make their office free for them, if not a substantial profit center.
Hey Solo: A steady stream of referrals will pay for your law office rental!
That’s a pretty good deal. Surely, I thought, this would incentivize these attorneys to continue sharing space with me. At least that’s what I had hoped.
Plus, by increasing the number of suitemates from three to eight, I figured I could significantly increase the business referrals I was already getting from the old suitemates. The extra revenue would definitely help to offset any additional expenses I was taking on.
The crazy plan worked.
In that first year, those eleven pioneering lawyers exchanged over a $1 million in client referrals.
Other self-employed attorneys became interested in this office sharing concept, and Law Firm Suites began adding space.
Over the next year, 11 offices turned into 28. The year after that, 28 offices turned into 40. And the year after that, 40 offices turned into 62.I tell this story not to brag about Law Firm Suites’ success, which I’m proud of. Instead, I hope to emphasize the fact that…
Law Firm Suites now provides office services for over 85 law firms and is growing rapidly.
The sole reason this company was formed was to solve some of the biggest challenges every self-employed, small firm attorney faces, including my own.
The Challenges of Small Firm Practice
My law firm needs a bigger office presence than what it can support.
I want better ‘stuff’ than is cost effective to purchase on my own (i.e., copiers, good quality phone equipment, fast internet).
I require reliable attorneys, preferably nearby, who could handle cases for my clients that are outside of my own practice area.
I need other lawyers to help me market my legal services when I get too busy to do it on my own.
I want to be around nice people who have a similar work ethic, and who are fun to be around.
The office needs to pay for itself by exchanging referrals with suitemates, but by putting in only minimal extra effort.
Share office space with other like-minded, self-employed small firm attorneys.
I knew that if I didn’t solve some of the challenges that come with running a small firm law practice, I wouldn’t stay self-employed for long.
A company inspired by one lawyer’s commitment to being self-employed.
When I started Law Firm Suites, I had a law practice that kept me really busy. It was not my intention to become a landlord.
I really enjoy being a self-employed lawyer. After years of working at firms, going back to that life would be the very last resort for me.
But I also knew that if I didn’t solve some of the challenges that come with running a small firm law practice, I wouldn’t stay self-employed for long.
Law Firm Suites was created simply out of a desire to solve those challenges so I could continue to work in my own firm.
The same principles -applied more effectively- now help dozens of firms.
The things those first 11 pioneering lawyers learned about sharing office space now supports dozens of firms.
Since we got our start, the principles upon which we were founded are still the same, but how those principles get executed has improved dramatically.
Our hope is that by leveraging our unique system for space sharing, we can continue to play an important role in helping other attorneys realize their own entrepreneurial dreams.