"I am breaking away from my big law firm to practice law my own way. But a permanent office is not in my budget."
"As a solo practicing attorney, I only want to commute to the city when necessary."
"My family is important and I need to spend more time at home without giving up my practice or taking time off."
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Amata Law Offices can provide the solutions you need.
Yes, this is blatant self-promotion for Amata Law Office Suites, but only because we have over two decades of experience working for our attorney clients who in turn have helped us shape our company to better support them.
Providing Chicago Attorneys with Options
Self-promotion aside, I want to start this article by pointing out that the most important aspect of our centers is actually a concept built directly into the structure of all shared office space, ours and our competitor's alike, and that's the ability to give attorneys options.
So many options, in fact, that we need to narrow down the conversation just to explain how flexible a shared office space truly is.
Flexibility of Telecommuting
Let's start where most small practices do and talk, not about renting space, but about telecommuting.
When you break telecommuting down, you have two immediate pros: The days you don't commute to the office will save you time and money, and when you do commute you have options.
Pros of Telecommuting for Attorneys
Like all choices you make for your business, telecommuting has its pros and cons, but the biggest pro is the amount of choices it provides to burgeoning and established practices alike.
Access to Multiple Locations
Through all of our programs, for instance, our clients have access to every Amata center to work, receptionist services, and to meet with clients and partners, no matter which center they decide is their firm's mailing address.
Convenience When You Commute
If you are coming into the city solely for a deposition, book a conference room at our 150 South Wacker office, a mere twenty feet from Union Station.
Spending the morning at court but need a small room to meet with a client in the afternoon? We have two locations a block from the Daley Center.
And when the kids have a day off school all of Amata's offices can provide you a quiet cafe or solitary day office to work in.
Eliminating the Cons of Telecommuting for Attorneys
On the con side, bouncing ideas off fellow attorneys is part of the fun of a law firm practice, and if you are leaving a bigger firm to start your own you may find you miss that daily interaction.
A Large Group of Attorneys To Interact With
For the tenants at our 180 North LaSalle office one of the highlights is ending the day catching up with attorneys over a glass of wine in the Cognac room; brilliant attorney and masterful storyteller, Paul Goodman, makes me laugh every time we grab a drink. Not all clients are able to join in such impromptu weekly rituals and for telecommuting clients this is especially so.
Exclusive Attorney Networking Events
To combat this, we work to create opportunities for all our lawyers to have the community experience by organizing dozens of events throughout the year, from casual attorney socials after work to grander scale river cruises, and we have even gone so far as to build an online community that allows attorneys to network no matter where they choose to be. Whether they prefer working at home in the Chicago suburbs, or even at home in a completely different state.
Telecommuting Options for Locals and Non-Locals Alike
Yes, you read that correctly. Telecommuting is not just an option for new or small law firms. When you have put your years in and finally decide to pursue that isolated cabin in the woods, telecommuting allows you to continue doing the work you love.
A few years ago, one of my best friends moved just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, yet he still maintains his successful law practice in Chicago, which boasts three attorneys and two support staff. He choose to commute 2-3 days each week and spend the rest of the days working at home in Tennessee.
He retained the physical space he needed for its Chicago employees, as well as the shared office space's built-in manager who deals with all the nitty gritty: the phone system, the copier, office supplies and shredder and any issues that may come up with them all.
But now when the receptionist processes his calls, his clients are transferred to his cellphone even while his coworkers still maintain their physical phones, and we forward and scan his mail wherever he needs, at his request.
Make Telecommuting Work For You
Telecommuting is just one, small example of how Amata Law Office Suites can work for you and your firm. Speaking from many years of experience as a shared office space provider, I can offer a few tips:
As you begin your search you will find that people and writers like to argue about the layout of shared office space -- open vs. closed.
As Jacob Morgan points out in his article Five Things You Need To Know About Telecommuting, the debates are absolutely pointless. I will reiterate the fact I opened this article up with: all shared office spaces are built to provide options, it's implicit in its design.
What you really need to pay attention to when searching for your perfect space are the details.
Does the office atmosphere boost your company image when clients come to visit?
What if your firm were to grow so big taking traditional space was more affordable; would you be able to take your established phone number with you when you leave?
These are questions you must ask before signing any contract.
But if you are just starting out, and haven't even thought about the details of a contract yet, I have one simple tip: pay attention to who the shared office space chooses as their partners.
If they aren't partnering with business that are meant to help you and your firm grow, then maybe you should keep looking.
Ron Bockstahler is the CEO of Amata Holdings, LLC and managing broker for Amata Realty Group. His companies have served the legal community for over 30 years and Ron regularly consults with attorneys on business development and space needs. You can contact Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (312) 924-0204.