In the previous post, we talked about how expanding into new markets can be a great way for a law firm to grow. We also identified a variety of challenges. In this post, we talk about five ways a virtual office can help a law firm accomplish a rapid and economical market entry.
Local Business Presence
First, a virtual office provides a prestigious business address and local phone number for the firm to establish a local presence. The firm can use this address and phone number on its website, business cards, marketing materials, and online directories.
Second, a virtual office provides shared office facilities like meeting rooms, office suites, reception area, business amenities, mail sorting, package handling, and kitchenette. Clients are greeted courteously by staff members and can meet attorneys in a professional, private office environment. An attorney can conduct client meetings, mediations, depositions, or conference calls in a variety of rooms that are rented by the hour. Document handling services encompass printing, copying, scanning, faxing, notarizing, mailing, storage, and shredding. Mail services include a private mailbox, the ability to drop off and pick up client documents, mail forwarding, scanning, and package notification. Shared office facilities provide a cost advantage over traditional offices because of the pooling of resources and economies of scale.
Connectivity and Support Staff
Third, virtual receptionists can answer phone calls with a personalized greeting and direct callers to any attorney. This is a great way to provide connectivity without the firm having to hire a full-time receptionist. Virtual receptionists can also be trained to perform other duties like answering questions about practice areas, consultation process and fees, scheduling appointments, and filling out client intake forms. Full day-time coverage is provided without the interruptions of sick time, vacation, and breaks. The law firm does not need to be burdened by administrative problems, retraining, hiring, termination, and turnover costs.
Fourth, attorneys can initially work in rentable office suites at the virtual office location. While business at the new firm’s location ramps up, the attorneys may not need to work full-time in the new location. They may have the option of working from home or at the firm’s other office if they only need to be at the new office to meet clients. Virtual receptionists can answer and transfer calls so callers can seamlessly reach the attorneys, no matter where they are. Virtual offices typically have office suites that are available to rent by the hour, day, or month, depending on the attorney’s needs. When the law firm has gained enough business in the new city to warrant a full-time office suite, it may be able to enter into a long-term lease with the facility.
Customized, Scalable Services
Lastly, virtual offices typically have à la carte, monthly plans that are customized to a law firm’s requirements. This flexibility provides an economical way of scaling with the firm’s needs as it grows in the new market. The firm pays only for what it uses so a lot of the excess overhead of a traditional office is eliminated. While the firm is not paying for the extra room for growth or other services that it currently does not use, it has the assurance that the virtual office can accommodate its expanding needs in the future.
In summary, virtual offices are a very effective strategy for law firms to establish a new market presence. They allow law firm of any size to be productive quickly without the large upfront costs and lead times that come with building out a traditional office space.