Small legal office space is a classification of commercial office space that for the most part involves the sublease or license of extra law offices in a firm, or of small space previously occupied (or built for) a law firm. A small law firm is generally thought to be a boutique firm with less than 10 attorneys. The majority of small law firms are actually solo practitioners (over 80% in New York for example) and the balance consists of about 15% of all firms which are between 2 and 9 attorneys, and about 2% working in firms that are considered "large" and having 10 or more attorneys.
We see many examples across the country of "solo" practitioners who have more offices than they need and who rent those extra offices to other attorneys who have their own private practices not necessarily affiliated with the sublessor in the suite (the "Host" firm). The majority of the solos are just that - singular and alone - but more often than not they seek to rent office space in the premises of another firm or under the Leasehold Umbrella of another attorney who has assumed liability for a larger unit of commercial office space than is actually needed for that practice. These subleases or licenses can be considered purely as an offset to leasehold costs - where the Host's intention is to break even and cover the cost of the fallow space. Alternately, many practitioners, a few years into the process of offsetting costs, determine that there is actually a decent amount of profit that can be made by renting offices to other attorneys for more money than the actual costs involved.
From a statistical perspective, the solo practice category is the most likely to either rent offices "from" another solo or rent offices "to" another solo...but clearly the traffic on LookingForSpace.com also includes many mid size firms seeking to rent extra offices in their existing facilities, to other attorneys. (This is a trend we do not see in "Big Law" because the larger firms always seem to have issues of security or client privacy that would eliminate the possibility of using or offering shared law office space.)
There are 3 primary benefits of sharing space for small legal offices.
- New office space that is "gassed up and ready to go" can be made available on an immediate basis.
- The integrated task of managing a real estate platform and an IT / Telecom platform is effectively "outsourced" to the "host" firm. The administrative burden of an office or personnel is completely eliminated.
- In some cases, when desired by both parties, a symbiotic relationship is created for the exchange of work product or expertise. This can be very beneficial to the bottom line for both the guest and the host.
Small legal office space is usually found as a sublease or license of individual offices plus a number of included amenities which generally include "meet and greet" services by a full time receptionist, shared use of the conference room(s) and pantry as well as common occupancy use of corridors and passageways in the private space as well as the public corridors.
As a rule, small legal office space generally incorporates office space that is less than 2,500 rentable sq. ft. if he space is private, and consisting of 4 offices or less if the space is shared. The most common configuration is one office and one workstation where the chief variable is the size of the office and the exposure and number and configuration of windows. On occasion, an attorney that has only occasional need for the office will rent or license an interior room, or even a workstation. Many small or solo practices that rent space to attorneys also include the possibility for "virtual" office space where the "tenant" doesn't even have a full time office but rather uses the common areas of the space on an "as needed" basis. This gives the "guest" firm the appearance of a full time office space for a portion of the cost of full time offices (whether windowed or interior).
LookingForSpace.com offers listings of small legal office space in the following categories:
1. Individual offices in the premises of a law firm.
2. Individual offices in a professional legal suite
3. Individual offices in an executive business center
4. Individual office appropriate for attorney use in the premises businesses other than law firms
5. Small "private" space available for sublease from another law firm
6. Small "private" space appropriate for law firm use, available for lease from a landlord.
You can view all of the listings on the lookingforspace.com website for free and you can obtain the full contact information for the party advertising the space. Further, we incorporate a format that includes unlimited photographs and space for descriptive text - which tends to insure that the inquiring party knows exactly what the advertiser is offering for rent because the space for photos or description has not been limited.
If you have any questions about renting your offices to other attorneys or about finding small legal office space in another law firm, feel free to contact us at: (212) 986-9100.