Virtual offices are sweeping the nation, and if you’re thinking of transitioning from brick-and-mortar into a virtual law firm your options are expanding.
Whether your leaving your current firm and going solo, or you are looking to decrease the cost of office rent, a new sector of virtual law firm providers is popping up to help: boutique office spaces that cater to attorneys, and attorneys alone.
Finding a good provider is the most important part of going virtual. Below we break down the 3 steps you should take before committing to any virtual office.
STEP 1: Take a tour!
Make sure you tour the office space before you sign up for services! You may be having meetings downtown and you want a space that is beautiful, has plenty of meeting room options, and friendly staff on hand.
Here's an easy checklist for you while you tour:
☐ No logos (you want it to feel like your space)
☐ A few meeting room sizes
☐ Professional & welcoming entryway
☐ Comfortable common space
☐ Kitchenette/Cafe for you and for guests
☐ Bonus points for natural light in common areas & gorgeous views
Luckily plenty of companies have virtual tours of their space online, so you can complete this step asap.
STEP 2: Ask yourself "Will I be virtual permanently?"
Are you scaling down as a last step towards retirement? Or are you going virtual to launch your solo practice? If you may need office space in the future make sure the provider’s offices and contracts fit your requirements.
Ask for a pricing break down on physical space and let them know you may go permanent in a year – if they are straight forward they will provide all the information you want without deflecting. And if they deflect their contracts are most likely convoluted, and you should move on in your search.
STEP 3: Interrogate your potential office space providers
The business of law demands flexibility and extensive support options. Make a list of all the needs for your law firm, and when you tour locations ask if the office provider can help support these needs.
A good provider will have paralegal support, admin support, front-desk personnel and reception services. But they may also have partners that can help with your billing/collections and court reporting. It can’t hurt to ask, and you may be surprised by the services provided.
Benefits of opening your virtual law firm with a boutique, attorney-centric office space provider
You already know the benefits of going virtual, that’s why you’re reading this article. Scaling down overhead costs. Achieving a great work/life balance. But you can receive even more benefits as a virtual law firm if you select the right office space provider.
- Legal office staff downtown (even though you aren't): everything from law clerks to paralegals to court filings without having to hire any personnel personally
- Attorney peers you can connect with online: networking is a vital part of any firm’s new business generation, and many providers have online community sites to help this
- Events for legal education & networking: all providers host events, and ‘bring your dog to work day’ or ‘group yoga’ sound fun but you don’t want to rearrange your schedule for these activities. A complimentary CLE webinar, on the other hand, is appealing, and helpful for you and your practice.
Want to read thoughts from attorneys running virtual law firms (and loving it!) before you start these steps? The American Bar Association interviewed 5 law firm leaders for their insight on being virtual attorneys.