Coworking, dedicated desk, private offices, hot desk, on-demand, furnished office space. Do I rent out my own office or sublet from someone else – or maybe I should just get one of those virtual office packages and work from home? You may be a solopreneur striking out on your own for the first time, or maybe you’re a 10 person law firm scaling up to the next level. Searching for office space in NYC brings a host of new vocabulary words. Vision getting blurry yet? Let us focus your lens by walking you through each of the options that a 1 to 15 person law firm in NYC should consider, who it’s good for, and what it typically costs.
Law Firms and Flexible Office Space
Business today is either expanding, contracting, or simply changing shape. Traditional real estate simple does not support the flexibility needs of modern day law firms in NYC. A law firm with 5 partners would have been 25 people in days past, whereas nowadays technology has compressed their staffing needs to be far smaller – 2 paralegals at most. A small law firm who needs 1k square feet of office space will be challenged by Class A landlords in any major building in New York City because they rarely are willing to subdivide their space into such small increments.
Here is why flexible office space in NYC is uniquely suited to the needs of small law firms:
- Large firm partners who are breaking off and starting their own firms have to impress their clientele. They can’t go into a lesser building or their image would suffer a downgrade. Flexible office space gives these lawyers what the elegant Class A environment they are used to, without requiring them to lease more space than they need.
- Lawyers also like to be around other lawyers because their network is where business comes from. A strong referral network and being in close proximity to others in the industry are of utmost importance to NYC law firms.
- Law firms also may have unique needs such as private meeting space for depositions. Having easy access to a meeting room can make all the difference.
- Law firms in NYC are increasing turning to flexible and shared office space solutions as an environment that can handle their need for high quality of space and confidentiality.
The next question the lawyer faces is choosing the type of space. We’ll cover that in the following three sections.
A virtual office is also called “on demand” office space. It provides you with access to a professional business address where you can receive mail. Most business centers provide mail forwarding or the option for you to come and pick up your mail. When someone has a virtual office, they are typically awarded rights to the business center’s coworking space, a communal area (akin to a Starbucks lounge) where you can plug in your laptop and work in the presence of other coworking participants.
Some virtual office deals provide access to meeting rooms for a certain amount of free hours while for others there is an additional fee. Higher level amenities such as a phone answering service are usually included in the more expensive virtual office plans.
Having a professional business address and phone number can make a huge difference for a law firm’s image. It makes your company look way more professional to have a 212 number listed on your website with a Manhattan address than your home address and cell phone.
Who it’s good for: A virtual office is a great option for a 1 to 3 person law firm that is just getting started out and not heavily collaborating. The advantage is flexibility. For users with unpredictable or sparse needs for in person meeting space, it wouldn’t make sense to lock up a more expensive private office plan and then underutilize the space. Eventually, though, most growing businesses will grow out of a virtual office model as in person, face to face meetings are destined to become a necessity as a company grows.
What it typically costs: Virtual offices tend to start as low as $90 a month in some cases and typically reach $300 or so before accounting for charges for additional amenities.
Coworking is another “on demand” option for the growing business. You will be provided with access to a common area and a dedicated, shared, or casual desk, as well as access to the center’s main amenities such as the cafe. If you pursue a casual or shared desk option, you are usually not guaranteed a workspace.
Who it’s good for: Coworking is a great option for startup law firms or any law firm that is growing with unpredictable space needs. This office space option is ideal for NYC lawyers who can’t stand the solitude of working out of their homes and welcome the opportunity to network with peers. But beware the distraction factor! If your law firm can’t stand noise or has serious privacy needs, private office space is the better way to go.
If your law firm has remote or part time workers, coworking is a great way to provide them with a professional, centrally located workspace with more amenities than what they’d have if they were working from home.
What it typically costs: Coworking space tends to start at $30 to $50 per day and $400 or above per month.
Private Office Space
Private office space provides you with a dedicated desk and workspace, many times one that can be customized to your particular tastes. This option can be rented as a single office or a cluster of offices. Most business centers are furnished and serviced, and the participants don’t have to worry about maintenance or upkeep of the facility. A professional reception greets your visitors and answers your phone. Usually these offices come with a lockable door.
Who it’s good for: Private office space is great for, and usually is only afforded by, a company that is not just growing but thriving and has a need for reliability and privacy. Once a company grows to be more than three full time people, the need to collaborate balloons and not having a common area to work can be detrimental. For all law firms, the reputation benefits of having a full time dedicated office of one’s own are impactful.
Typically private office space in NYC only makes financial sense for company with a maximum of 15 to 20 people; any more than that and subletting or pursuing your own lease might be the better way to go.
What it typically costs: Private office space comes in at the higher end of the pricing scale. Most NYC business centers charge $1k per month or more depending on your space needs.
Elegant, Discrete, and Secure NYC Office Space for Your Law Firm
Corporate Suites is uniquely positioned to respond to the office space needs of NYC law firms. NYC attorneys love our high touch concierge client service team, the ability to customize their own office space, and the quiet and confidentiality of our discrete NYC office suites. Lawyer love our downtown location right near the courts. For your private tour, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.