Want to get in on the ground floor with a start up? One law firm, albeit a large one, Foley, Lardner is doing just that. According to the Chicago Business Journal, a new co-working space for entrepreneurs called Catapult just launched in Chicago, and its secured a home free of charge, courtesy of Foley. In addition, Foley will also provide legal assistance to co-working tenants. Although Catapult’s tenants – tech start ups may not be very big now, Foley’s most likely betting that if these companies morph into the next Google or Facebook, the founders will dance with the ones that bring ’em.
Although demand for co-working space in the tech world remains high, oddly, many solo firms that serve start-ups are adopting the virtual law office model. On one level, virtual legal services make sense for start-ups because they’re generally more affordable and convenient, with the flexibility to be on call 24/7 to respond to late night inquiries. On the other hand, virtual legal services address only one component of what start-up companies need. Many also want a physical location so that team members can collaborate face to face. For most solo and small firm lawyers just starting out, footing the bill for start up companies’ rent, as Foley is doing, is way above their pay grade, so to speak. But perhaps it’s a goal worth pursuing.