Access to capital is often limited for start-up lawyers and, at the beginning of a practice, lawyers are hard-pressed to find the necessary client base to sustain them. Yet, in order to practice, a lawyer requires a law office in which he or she can maintain the necessary privacy of meeting and record-keeping that the high standards of law societies and accrediting bodies will accept. The office of a lawyer must also look and feel like a law office, if the lawyer expects the practice to succeed.
Requirements for a law office
There are specific legal-ethical guidelines for what constitutes a bona fide office. The law office is the place where:
- Clients are met
- Confidential legal files are kept
- The telephone is reliably answered
- Mail is received
- The attorney can be reached within a reasonable period of time
Any arrangement that does not meet that standard will not acceptably represent a law office and cannot be ethically listed on stationery or advertising as such.
So what are the options?
Lawyers can set up practice in their homes, providing they can assure clients privacy and confidentiality in space set aside for the law practice. They must be able to guarantee the permanent and secure storage of client files and legal documents. They must also be able to receive telephone calls and messages in a timely way.
Office space in a co-working environment is one strong alternative to a home office. In a co-working space, a community of individual practitioners share a core of auxiliary facilities, such as libraries, reception areas and kitchen areas. Private offices or suites are available in many cases, and in a law-specific space such as LawBank, locked file storage is available to all co-workers.
Borrowed or conditional office space cannot serve as a law office, because the lawyer could not adequately guarantee confidentiality and availability.
LawBank provides Denver lawyers with secure and professional law office options, as well as a community of like-minded independent practitioners. For more information, contact us.