What Kind of Law Office Space Should I Have? Pros and Cons – Part 2


Shared Office SpaceThis is the 2nd post in a 5 part series of posts by Debra L. Bruce addressing the pros and cons to consider in deciding on a location for your law practice.  Yesterday she discussed the home law office.  In today’s post, she considers shared office space.

Shared Office Space

Pros:

  1. Landlords usually charge a lower price per square foot for larger spaces. Therefore, you can achieve some economies of scale by sharing office space with other lawyers.
  2. You can also share equipment, such as copiers, scanners and phone systems.
  3. You may share staff costs as well, but that can get complicated pretty quickly.
  4. If you choose to share space with lawyers who have different practice areas, but who serve a similar target audience, they can be good referral sources.
  5. You may have easy access to some good sounding boards in your office mates, as well as quick answers to questions about legal issues outside your area of expertise.

Cons:

  1. If you share staff, for some reason, differences of opinion about work performance and duties tend to be more irritating in an office-sharing arrangement than in a partnership.
  2. It can be difficult to establish and maintain a fair balance in the usage of shared staff among multiple lawyers. 
  3. In many jurisdictions you will need to take significant steps to make it clear that the office mates are not partners, which can create a less than optimal image.
  4. The phone will probably be answered with a generic and rather sterile greeting of “Law Office.”
  5. Lease negotiations can be a nightmare because too many people have to read and sign off on the documents. At renewal time, the nightmare can get worse as some office mates waffle and delay decisions about whether they will continue the arrangement.
  6. Maintaining client confidentiality and other ethical responsibilities can be more difficult with several law firms under one roof.

Parts 3, 4, & 5 address the pros & cons of  Subleased Space , The Executive Suite, and the series concludes with Home Office + Office Hoteling. Click to catch up on Part 1 about the Pros & Cons of a Home Law Office.

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