As I wrote a few year’s back, there’s been a surge in co-working spaces for lawyers – a trend that my colleague Nicole Black predicts will continue. But lawyers need not limit themselves to lawyer-specific co-working spaces – which are not yet available in all cities. And in fact, as one large law firm found, establishing a presence in a mixed co-working space, alongside non-lawyers can lead to new business.
As Law.com reports, the UK-based global mega-firm Linklaters dispatched a firm attorney to work from a WeWork facility to establish closer ties with the tech startup community. As a result of its initiative, Linklaters snagged an arrangement with CrowdCube, a crowdfunding platform, to advise the companies selected for funding.
Now, a lawyer can’t simply walk into a co-working facility and expect to be flooded with clients. My office is currently located at WeWork, and it takes initiative to introduce yourself to the other companies and learn who works in the space. That said, as the Linklater’s example shows, building those relationships can pay off. Plus, co-working space is cheap and flexible, so even if you don’t make money, you can save money by joining a co-working space.
Of course, bear in mind that many ethics regulators have expressed concerns about lawyers co-habitating with non-lawyers in the same space. As if a consumer were to stumble into a WeWork or Wing facility and believe that the firm is running an unauthorized multi-disciplinary practice in cahoots with the other hundred businesses in the space. That said, regulators generally don’t prohibit lawyers from sharing a facility with non-lawyers so long as they maintain a clearly demarked office and signage showing that the firm is independent of the other groups.
Have you ever thought about moving your firm to a co-working facility? Why or why not?