According to Douglas Sams, Commercial Real Estate Editor of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, referencing commercial real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle, says Atlanta’s economy is rebounding! According to Sams, the region’s second-largest employment sector, professional and business services, has gained back thousands of jobs it lost since the recession began. But who really knows when the recession actually began. All statistics regarding the rebound to 419,200 jobs as of September, 2012 are, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are professional and business services including: lawyers, engineers, accountants and computer programmers. It is refreshing to see that the economy is apparently rebounding in Atlanta through expansion in this sector, which is second to the largest job sector, trade, transportation and utilities (543,000 jobs).
While it is safe to say there has been a lot of “dark space” in the Atlanta area (ranging from Atlanta to Alpharetta), it is hard to determine which of the professional and business services are taking the actual lead for Atlanta’s “rebound”. It appears that tech services are driving employment gains across the country at a much faster rate than almost any other sector, which may be the lead for Atlanta’s increase in jobs from 2007 to present. Those skilled in computer systems design and related services may even be creating computer programs that will handle the insurance-Obama Care regulations for business.
Atlanta’s high-tech sector is apparently responsible for absorbing one of the highest percentages of office space relative to the size of its nearly 140-million-square-foot office market. According to Sams, only high-tech sectors in Seattle and in the San Francisco peninsula were running overall absorption in their office markets at a faster rate. An absorption rate is the rate at which rentable space is filled. Gross absorption is a measure of the total square feet leased over a specified period with no consideration given to space vacated in the same geographic area during the same time period. Net absorption is equal to the amount occupied at the end of a period minus the amount occupied at the beginning of a period and takes into consideration space vacated during the period.
Notes: Atlanta Business Chronicle by Douglas Sams, November 7, 2012, “Tech sector boosts commercial real estate recovery”
As a sponsor for Run for Justice facilitated by Atlanta Legal Aid Society, LawSpaceMatch was a part of the 1,200 participants raising $25,000 for the general operating fund of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. The run was on November 10, 2012, in Oakhurst for a 5K run and walk and was a great success. The highest overall participation was from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. The largest public interest teams with staff under 25 was the Fulton Child Advocacy and the DeKalb Public Defender’s Office. LawSpaceMatch, along with other sponsors, including the Daily Report and the Association of Legal Administrators (AALA), Delta and various law firms were proud to participate in this annual event.
With the road paved for sharing office space, attorneys seek options for finding suitable space with great amenities and a place for exchanging expertise with other like-minded professionals. A typical sublease may be feasible, allowing attorneys the avoidance of “dark space” for an extended period of time; however, other space sharing arrangements are available. While subleasing law office space means space that has been leased by a tenant and is being offered for lease back to the market by the tenant with the lease obligation, sometimes a sublease is not the answer.
Got Law Space? At least be thoughtful about it.
Sharing law space is a great way to cut costs. Creative lawyers are approaching law firms and groups of lawyers already sharing space and cutting that pie of office space in various pieces which represent benefits for the law firm and the mobile attorney. By presenting space sharing proposals that cater exactly to the needs of the attorney seeking space, it is a win/win situation. Perhaps an attorney only needs a conference room to meet with clients or conduct attorney team discussions. Instead of seeking virtual office space from generic office suites, attorneys are approaching other attorneys with law offices located nearby clients or their home. And those attorneys receiving those creative space sharing arrangements who are business minded are accepting those proposals – after satisfactory due diligence of course.
It’s good for you; it’s good for me.
Atlanta office vacancy still exists and Atlanta lawyers, as well as lawyers in nine other states are posting and listing empty office space on www.lawspacematch.com. Lawyers should be flexible in providing office sharing arrangements as long as they are comfortable with the lawyers sharing conference rooms and standing at the copy machine. Sharing law space means finding a good match. Resources are shared: whether an actual office is subleased or a conference room once a month is provided. Further benefits include: networking, networking, networking, which is a fruit of this synergy. There is always the potential client referral coming from that attorney using the conference room to an attorney granting law space who specializes in an area of law. Or vice versa. Also, costs are reduced: creative attorneys may offer an a la carte approach to the needed services sought for the mobile attorney or a flat rate per week or month. It is a no lose situation.
The mission of www.lawspacematch.com is to assist the legal profession by creating a web site targeted for attorneys in transition and law firms with empty office space. Immediate opportunities for attorneys desiring relocation may be found with criteria-based custom searches or views by zip codes. It’s simple. And its FREE to post or search for law space. Law firms post available office space; attorneys search and find space while simultaneously posting their professional profiles on our site. www.LawSpaceMatch.com is a matching site like no other and benefits both the law firms and the attorneys by directly connecting these two parties.
See Also: The Business of Law, Law Firms with Unused Offices,
LawSpaceMatch has a new listing ideal for civil trial attorneys! Located on 1201 Peachtree Street, this space features a receptionist, conference room, a covered parking deck and a great view of nearby Ansley Park. An established trial firm owns the space, and there are several offices available. This is a fantastic opportunity for a solo practitioners to work amongst reputable, knowledgeable colleagues in a professional environment. If interested, create your free attorney profile and contact Kari Beebe for more information!
See Also: Atlanta Office Space Vacancies, Law Firms with Unused Offices
LawSpaceMatch.com is the perfect online service for newly graduated law students who are thinking of starting their own solo practice or small groups of graduates who want to hang out their own shingle. The purpose of LawSpaceMatch is to help attorneys looking for office space find law firms with available space. It is a match.com for lawyers seeking shared office space.
The founder of LawSpaceMatch, a Mercer Law graduate, Elaine M. Russell was looking for a new office space for her solo corporate law practice in Atlanta, Georgia. After a frustrating search, yielding no website or source that connected her with open office space, she resorted to a door to door search for office space. Since pounding the pavement was not the best use of resources or time, Elaine developed LawSpaceMatch to save other attorneys from having to do the same legwork.
This online service is free and easy to use and accessible to attorneys and firms with office space needs. Law firms with space to rent or sublet can post these listings and upload photographs on the website. Attorneys search for law office space that would match their needs. Since the online service covers all regions of the country, it enables solo practitioners in transition to hang a shingle in a different state or find a partner in a different part of the city or state to with which to share space.
Lawyers and law students may also post their professional profile. Since attorneys are able to view each other’s professional profiles, finding attorneys with similar practice areas with whom to share space is easier. Whether you are a new solo practitioner or a current practitioner looking to start a new practice, www.LawSpaceMatch.com can help you save time, space, and ultimately money. This website is free to use.
Also, check out the legal blog at LawSpaceMatch.com Mercer law student Sarah Phaff has posted on the blog along with many others. If you are interested in contributing a blog post, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to be creative with topics; anything that pertains to law or the importance of office sharing is welcomed. Our ultimate goal is to create a blog that not only informs readers about the open office spaces and the benefits of office sharing, but also paints them a broad picture of the current legal landscape.
Also check out the podcast at http://bit.ly/pIIJax.
Contributed by: By Sarah Phaff, 2L via Mercer Law Free Press
See Also: A View From Law Students,
Great Midtown Atlanta Space has beautiful law office space available for you to share. Check out this law firm location today. Share attractive law office with 2 attorneys. AV rated firm. Two partner offices available. Brand new build out. Excellent location. Easy access. Overflow work available. Ample and well-appointed admin, conference and reception areas. Excellent break room. Modern, flexible phone and internet system. A chance to practice with experienced attorneys in a warm and supportive environment with low overhead and minimal hassles. Secretarial services available. Excellent location and views on Peachtree Street across from Woodruff Arts Plaza and High Museum.
Sharing space is becoming more and more common among attorneys in this economic climate. With part time attorneys seeking an office space to meet clients and have a place to land with their files other than a coffee shop, www.lawspacematch.com has become a solution for attorneys seeking law offices and shared space at the touch of the key pad.
Attorneys search for free and law firms or attorneys may list the empty law space for free.
With lawyers avoiding the signing of a long term lease, and with Atlanta landlords not giving grand concessions, sharing law space is a solution. Even one Sandra Day O’Connor opted for after her law school graduation.
Even lawyers are having a hard time finding a job in these economic times. And solo practitioners are hesitant before signing a long term lease usually requiring a personal guaranty. The good news is attorneys are sharing space and simultaneously saving money and improving business. There are many benefits of sharing law space. The cooperative spirit of a group of attorneys who practice with each other is invaluable. Water cooler discussions lead to the exchange of valuable expertise with other lawyers and perhaps even a referral for a case or work project. This does not occur when an attorney practices law from home or a coffee shop.
Another benefit of sharing law space is creating a better image in the eyes of clients. Attorneys are forming associations when they share space and link they names on the letterhead. They are setting themselves out as attorneys who are part of a law firm, even though they are neither partners nor sharing profits. Instead these lawyers are sharing expenses and saving money. While there are State Bar rules governing the representation of a law firm where the lawyers are space sharing, the bottom line of disclosure to the client may be easily addressed in the retainer agreement. The retainer agreement with the client should clearly indicate that the lawyer is a professional corporation, a limited liability company or solo practitioner, and he or she is not an associate or partner of a law firm. (Each state has varying rules so check the State Bar for further reference). These guidelines may be easily met. Expansive letterhead of the association of lawyers sharing office space may show a client a more impressive image and office space than any one single lawyer could afford on her own.
Expenses of copy machines and other office equipment are much less burdensome when costs are divided among space sharing lawyers. The bottom line: an attorney may receive more for office rental dollars. Everything from water to paper may be shared and as long as there is a clearly written space sharing agreement, the arrangement adds prestige and cost savings. Attorneys are not signing long term leases; instead space sharing is a beneficial and prevalent concept. Of course, choosing with whom you wish to share office space is an individual choice and should be closely examined.
In 2010, Elaine M. Russell created www.lawspacematch.com, a service that matches lawyers seeking to sublet space with unoccupied office space at compatible law firms around the country. Law office space and attorney profiles may be viewed at www.lawspacematch.com. Elaine M. Russell is a corporate and business attorney representing clients throughout Georgia and has an office located in the Buckhead section of Atlanta.
See Also: A Resolution for Student Debt?, , Law Firms – Don’t Use Your Empty Office Space for Storage – It’s a Waste
Bad news for lawyers. Unemployment rose in July, 2011 for Georgia lawyers and support staff. Last month 54 lawyers and 176 support staff in private practice filed for initial unemployment benefits according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Lawyers are feeling the pinch with a 17% increase in unemployment filings. Regarding legal support staff, a 12% increase in unemployment occurred in comparison to the 157 people who filed unemployment claims in June.
A total of 230 Georgia legal industry workers filed claims in July. This is a 13% increase from June. These claims fall slightly shortly than the highest total claims filed since April (234 lawyers and staff filed claims). Legal workers are flocking to the Georgia Department of Labor for relief and these increased filings note the highest total number of monthly claims filed this year.
The good news is that although July unemployment claims increased in June, the total claims filed by Georgia lawyers and staff for 2011 have decreased compared to 2010. Claims by lawyers in 2011 are down 13%, as compared to claims filed in 2010.
Nationally, 1.1 million people in the legal services industry were without employment in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal industry layoffs increased by 1% the month, when compared to July 2010.
While some legal firms have survived the initial economic downturn, the unemployment rate for Atlanta is still hovering between 9.7% and 10.4%. These recently unemployed lawyers may decide hanging their own shingle in hopes for the best. Benefits may merely include reduced costs of operating a law practice, especially in a legal community where jobs are scarce. By avoiding overhead costs and startup of law practice, lawyers can find unexpected benefits from office sharing. Advantages of attorneys sharing office space include sharing common expenses including maintaining support personnel, as well as providing the phone system and maintaining office equipment. Other benefits include daily contact with other lawyers who may provide a valuable opportunity to network, in addition to the assistance of more experienced lawyers in your law practice down the hall. Subleasing law offices from an existing firm provides an opportunity for these unemployed lawyers (and their legal staff) that appears mutually beneficial in light of the surplus office space available in Georgia.
In 2010, Elaine M. Russell created www.lawspacematch.com, a service that matches lawyers seeking to sublet space with unoccupied office space at compatible law firms around the country. This law office space and other Atlanta law office may be viewed at www.lawspacematch.com. Elaine M. Russell is a corporate and business attorney representing clients throughout Georgia and has an office located in the Buckhead section of Atlanta.
Notes: The Fulton Daily Report, August 31, 2011.
See Also: The Business of Law, Law Firms with Unused Space
A major Atlanta law firm, Epstein Becker & Green has been sued by its landlord for unpaid rent for its Atlanta/Buckhead law office. While the law firm and the landlord were engaged in negotiations regarding failure to pay for legal space under the lease agreement, the law firm has been sued for failure to pay rental payments in the amount of $855,000 in back rent. Ken Menendez, the Atlanta local managing shareholder, was surprised by the filing of the lawsuit and stated, “… notwithstanding the lawsuit, we expect to work out a deal to restructure our lease.”
Epstein Becker is not the only larger law firm which has contracted during the recent recession. Other Atlanta law firms have also downsized. Epstein Becker has allowed one and one half floors of “dark space” in Resurgens Plaza, a well-known Atlanta Buckhead commercial building near Lenox Mall. Atlanta’s commercial real estate landscape has left a lot of law firms with vacant space. As a result of tenants having too much empty space, even when attempting to renegotiate with landlords, law firms risk getting sued for back rent. A sublet is an option for tenants with excessive vacant law space. Extra law office space may be subleased to lawyers seeking a turn-key law office situated in a prestigious commercial building. Smaller law firms in Atlanta are engaging in this space sharing and benefit from reduced costs.
LawSpaceMatch.com provides a simple avenue for lawyers and law firms with empty law space to sublease to lawyers in transition and seeking to sublease from lawyers. Law firms may post their empty law space on LawSpaceMatch.com for free. Lawyers seeking to share space may search by zip code or by custom criteria based on areas of practice, and other amenities such as receptionists, shared secretaries, covered parking, and rental rates for the sublease.
Perhaps during its negotiations with the landlord at Resurgens Plaza, Epstein Becker could have considered utilizing a free service and obtained a sublease, even for a short period of time, allowing a sublease for lawyers desiring the creation of a law practice within its prestigious law space within Resurgens Plaza.
Notes: Fulton Daily Report – Friday, July 1, 2011
See Also: The Need For Law Space Match, Landlords Make Room for New Tenants, Provide Relief for Existing Tenants, Atlanta’s Largest Law Firm Comes Out on Top with Strategic Cost Cutting
Atlanta lawyers are subleasing with other lawyers and entering into law space sharing arrangements. The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct do not prohibit attorneys from sharing office space. With law firms downsizing, the empty law office space entices new lawyers into a sublet deal. Know the benefits and responsibilities.
Benefits of law space sharing include: (i) the occasional consult or assisting with certain legal issues which may arise; (ii) reduction of overhead costs; and (iii) potential referrals for legal work in each lawyers’ area of practice. While lawyers seek to share rent, copier costs, internet costs, legal research expenses, lawyers must use extra care about maintaining the confidences and secrets of clients. For instance, if the lawyers sharing law space retain a joint receptionist who performs legal tasks, she or he should be advised to maintain confidentiality of the clients and keep files for the clients in a separate work area. Ethical issues can be triggered by sloppy administrative practices. All confidential information gained in the professional relations with a client, unless the client consents after consultation are required by the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct (Rule 1.6) to be protected. The duty of confidentiality shall continue after the client-lawyer relationship has terminated (Rule 1.6(e)). So the files must be kept separate even after the case or matter is completed. The bottom line: lawyers or law firms should not fail to take adequate measures to protect the client’s confidential information of each space-sharing lawyer.
Lawyers who are dual professionals also must make clear to the public the separate nature of their legal and other businesses, and should take measures to protect client confidentiality. The dual professional may be required to keep separate phone numbers, letterhead, books, records, and files. The lawyer should take special care to keep separate the provision of law-related and legal services in order to minimize the risk that the client/customer will assume that the law-related services are legal services. (See Georgia Rule 5.7, comment (8)).
Each state may have a specific position regarding the dual professional practicing in one office. For instance, Colorado takes a stronger view, stating that it is easier to avoid confusion if the second occupation is not conducted from the legal office. The basis for Colorado’s opinion is that risks such as improper solicitation are increased when one office is used.
Whatever the commissions ultimately decide, space-sharing is an important concern for many lawyers and can be maneuvered easily if thoughtful steps are taken prior to conducting the business of law. Lawyers should always remember that the essence of the Rules of Professional Conduct is based on communication with the clients.
See Also: You Can’t Run a Law Practice from a Coffee Shop, Atlanta Lawyers Sublease Space, The Need for Law Space Match, Law Firms with Unused Offices