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Advantages of Having a Law Office in a Coworking Space

If you’re a lawyer, law librarian, law firm marketer, or any other professional stepping on your own, concerns for an office space ranks right up there with client acquisition and retention. A home office may suffice when you’re starting out, but the walls quickly close in and distractions abound. For those of us living in small spaces in big cities, It’s downright claustrophobic, and productivity suffers.

Time to look for an office space, but that can get very expensive, especially in the afore mentioned big cities. Enter coworking spaces, or shared work environments. They’re sometimes called collaborative work spaces though there’s not a lot of collaboration going on or necessarily desired. I prefer to call it coworking spaces.

Advantages of coworking spaces

More focused – Traditional offices tend to be social spaces with lots of non-work related activities and working from home brings a whole other level of distractions. Coworking spaces confines you, along with a colleague or two if you so choose, to a desk or office, limiting distractions.

Reduced rent – The savings are significant. Prices start at less than $200 per month for shared spaces, and even at the top end, you can find a private office for under $900 per month. I’ve done both and do recommend paying a few extra bucks for the private space. But if you can’t, many spaces provide private telephone nooks for those times when you need to get away from the din.

Convenience – Let’s start with the relief of getting out of the house or apartment…but not too far. We’re not going to choose a space a few counties over. It’s generally in the neighborhood, saving tons of commuting time and money.

Reduced overhead – Office equipment like copying, faxing (still a hard habit to break, for some), and other utilities are usually included. Free coffee bars are common, and some even offer free fitness centers, secretarial services and other amenities.

Networking and community – During a three month stint at a coworking space, I meaningfully connected with more people than I can recall — from software to non-profit, marketing, even event planning and executive coaching. Another important missing ingredient when going solo that I don’t hear much about is community. This is more than just networking. It’s about connecting and building relationships like we’re used to doing in traditional office spaces. Getting together for happy hour on Friday. Planning holiday parties. All the elements that go into making work life so much more enjoyable and vibrant.

A place to meet clients – It sure beats meeting clients at Starbucks. Most spaces provide conference rooms for meeting clients and conducting meetings.

Coworking spaces can range from communal work spaces, to a shared desk, to a private office, and they are easy to find. Google “coworking” and you’ll find a ton of choices. Check out the Coworking Google Group, join the Freelancers Union for free and find work space discounts, or search the global directory at the coworking wiki.

And in locations where choices are fewer (or even in large cities with an abundance of choices), consider contacting law offices close to you and inquire about sharing a space at the firm — perhaps during off-peak hours or during the weekends.

These are just a few of the advantages of having a coworking space. Any others?