How to Open Your Own Law Practice during COVID-19
As the months wear on with the pandemic and the need for shelter-in-place and social isolation continues, lots of professionals have had to shift to working remotely. Attorneys are definitely among the group being forced to adapt to the new normal of Zoom meetings, and other technologies that reduce or eliminate the need to meet in former large corporate offices located in big city centers.
Of course, many people have seen a silver lining in this experience — skipping the long commutes has led to more time spent with family, especially important as the demands of taking care of children shifted completely to home-based solutions!
So, attorneys may be looking at using this opportunity to go out on their own. Having your practice based close to home can provide a much higher quality of life, especially if you look at flexible workspace options.
There are many different types of flexible workspace companies out there, so it is important to do the due diligence (attorneys are very familiar with this!) and find one that will work for you. There are some basic needs for attorneys that you will want to consider.
A professional flexible workspace will have a modern, clean look with all the amenities of a corporate workspace— beautiful and functional furnishings, copiers and fax machines, high-speed WIFI and a kitchen. Of course, during the pandemic, it is important to have good safety protocols In place with frequent sanitizing of all the public spaces, and supplies for you and your guests to use, such as masks, hand sanitizing stations, thermometers for temperature checks and appropriate signage for how to be as safe as possible.
Professional Staff on Site
This is a key element for attorneys—having a business manager on site during business hours who runs the place and is available for any support you may need. My business manager greets clients, serves them coffee or tea, and knows how you prefer to be informed of their arrival. She also accepts packages and documents, keeps the copier running and basically handles any administrative task so you can concentrate on your work. Her presence is especially important now to make sure everyone is complying with safety protocols and has access to whatever they need to do so.
Flexibility and Scalability of Options
Flexibility and scalability are arguably the most important reasons to use a flexible workspace company. When first starting out, your needs will be different than when you are more established. For example, the first order for you is to have a Business Address Plan, which establishes your practice in a professional setting (complete with the above-mentioned business manager who receives and processes any deliveries) This usually gives you reduced member rates on meeting spaces, including a day office that can be personalized with your logo on the door whenever you use it.
Depending on your needs, you can easily add live phone answering and virtual assistant options as you grow. There are varying levels of drop-in plans which will include access to the space at all hours, so you can quickly reserve dedicated space online.
When you are ready, a variety of dedicated, private offices are available and easy to upgrade to. The onsite manager will be aware of where you are in your business needs and will carefully keep track to make sure your office dollars are being spent for the best result for you.
So, whether you are ready to go out on your own, or continue with your current firm, flexible workspace is an option that can really work for attorneys.