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QueensGrad

Thinking of going it alone? Need space? I have a question for you...

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As is happening more frequently, young lawyers, including new calls, are striking out on their own. I did the same thing after I got called, following a rather scarring articling experience and a lack of serious desire to ever have a boss again afterwards.

Lucky for me, however, I rented space in a shared office where there were two other highly experienced lawyers who were able to mentor me. Now, after 4 and a half years of practice I have a bustling practice, an assistant, a file clerk, two articling students, and have been interviewing law clerks for my satellite office.

So, what's my point?

I'm about to expand my main office physical space. It's an opportunity I don't want to let slip by but it means I'm taking on more space than I need. As such, in order to help with the costs and rent of space I won't be using myself, I'm looking at opening a law chambers. Before I do that, however, I'm trying to gauge how big the market is this type of opportunity. 

What would the setup be like?

Glad you asked, invisible friend. It's a ground floor, boutique like commercial space (as in you just walk to the door from the parking lot, you don't navigate through an office tower). There are lots of individual offices (likely to be already furnished for you) plus cubicles located outside of many of these offices for an assistant (if you bring one or later hire one), ample free parking, it's located in Markham, pretty well off the 404 Steeles ramp (go North to John on Woodbine), and is therefore near both the 407 and 401. I'd be providing internet and phone lines (VOIP), as well as access to a board room, break room, kitchen area, filing area, and large office copiers/printers. I would also offer a website for the law chambers for people put themselves and their information up, as well as law chambers email addresses (with web hosting through privateemail available on request, which will link easily to Outlook). I'm contemplating even hiring a receptionist to take incoming calls for the Law Chambers and then redirect them, though it would depend on what people were willing to pay, though. I want to keep the rent cheap so that new calls can access this. As long as I'm not losing money on the rent for the portions I'm not using, I don't care. I'm not in it for a profit. That's what my law firm is for. (so yes, to be absolutely clear, that is my primary concern with this. First is to not lose money on it or the rental area I'm not using. The second is to make sure we're doing things as efficiently and cheaply as possible so that this is accessible for new calls)

My intention is to also be available to provide mentorship (something I already do for my articling students), and I'm sure the other two senior lawyers in the office would be fine to make themselves available as well (one was a college teacher for paralegals for quite some time while maintaining his practice).

 

So what's the interest level?

Basically, this is something I'm currently planning out, but the biggest stumbling block I come to is how solid of a market there might be for this kind of thing in the Markham area and among new or recent calls. It's the big X-factor in all of this. There's easily about a dozen offices (give or take one or two) and probably 5 to 7 cubicles available after I've taken what I need for my own firm, but I think if I had even just 8 people then it would be viable at $1,200 to $1,500 per month (at the higher end it might even make a receptionist a viable option to add).

I know younger lawyers want mentoring, and I know it's difficult to find accessible, stable, and affordable space that looks like a live office. But how many of you are actually in the market for this kind of thing?

 

Please feel free to message me if you don't feel comfortable answering here, or if you have other questions. I'm always happy to help out others in the legal community.

 

Hope to hear from you!

 

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