Study after study concludes that the financial and productivity benefits of working in a shared office space are significant—and no doubt they are. What few articles examine, however, is the hidden marketing benefits that come from networking with other lawyers in the office. These benefits are extremely subtle, but equally significant in the success and expansion of your legal practice.
The first is the availability of a reception area and access to conference rooms. The legal profession is, ultimately, one that requires interaction with people. Regardless of the advances in technology, nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting either in the office or in the courtroom. Meeting a client in an office environment gives two critical first impressions: first that you are a lawyer whose services are worth paying for, and second, that the prospective client is important enough to you to meet with him or her personally. As Rachel Rodgers writes in the Philadelphia Law Blog, “As lawyers, we deal with real people, who have real problems that are decided in real courtrooms. The outcomes have consequences…A snazzy website just can’t replace an office.”
Shared office spaces also office the chance to split the costs of networking benefits. For example, client lunches, holiday parties and events can all be hosted with either one firm or a conglomerate of solo practitioners, attracting more potential clients while saving money. Solo practitioners in complementary practices can collaborate to put on joint webinars.
The key for marketing success in a shared office space is just that: collaboration. The most obvious area where this is beneficial is referrals. Lawyers can acquire more business by being of counsel for other law firms in their area of expertise. Similarly, office mates can refer cases outside of their expertise to solo practitioners with more experience in that area of the law.
www.Lawspacematch.com provides the opportunity to lawyers to network simply by going to work. The flexibility in choosing space and coworkers allows solo practitioners more control over their work environment, and thus more control over the extent to which they participate in joint marketing efforts. Research indicates that marketing is usually “the first thing to fall through the cracks” for solo practitioners who are too busy to deal with their workload. In a shared office environment, these former solo lawyers develop better marketing habits just through observing and natural competition with their office mates. If the financial advantages aren’t enough to persuade a you to try a shared space, imagine the benefits that seem less obvious—free expansion of your practice.
¹ Rodgers, Rachel, “Your Website is not a Reception Area,” Philadelphia Law Bog, April 6, 2013. <https://phillylawblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/your-website-is-not-a-reception-area/>
² Elefant, Carmen, “How Working Cheek to Cheek Can Help Market Your Practice Week to Week,”Nolo’s Legal Marketing Blog, December 14, 2010. <http://www.legalmarketingblawg.com/index.html?page=2>