You Can't Run a Law Practice from a Coffee Shop

Being a solo practitioner can sometimes be overwhelming, particularly for those who have never done it before. Among the many different decisions that a prospective solo practitioner needs to make is office space for the law firm. Because so much of the practice of law has become electronic, some solo practitioners have come to the conclusion that they can successfully practice law without dedicated office space. However, just about anyone who has attempted this sort of arrangement will tell you, having functional and reasonably appealing office space is a very worthwhile investment. While it is true that you can work on a letter or brief from a laptop at the local coffee shop or a room at the law school or your converted garage space, these types of arrangements are typically inefficient. Functionality is the key to efficiency, and it is hard to replace a well-designed office space with reliable copying, scanning, and other equipment, high-speed internet connection, and a dedicated space you can meet with clients and potential witnesses.

Nothing screams a lack of credibility to potential clients and opposing counsel more than an attorney that does not have a dedicated office address. Meeting with a client in a home-office leaves the client wondering why the attorney is not profitable enough to afford office space. Having opposing counsel send documents to a post office box opposed to an office address indicates you do not have the resources to adequately handle cases. In short, there is a reason why virtually all successful attorneys invest in adequate law office space to support their practice. Moreover, particularly in light of the current economic trends, there is very good space to be had at a bargain.

Opportunities to sub-let "Class A" space at a discount abound. And while you may not have your name over the door as a sub-tenant, you will have access to functional space, adequate equipment, and respectable surroundings. If you are planning to run a law practice, finding good Atlanta office space at a reasonable price is well worth the investment.

In 2010, Elaine M. Russell created LawSpaceMatch.com, a website dedicated to helping law firms with open office space and solo practitioners connect with each other. This free service matches lawyers seeking to sublet office space with law firms possessing unused office space across the country. Elaine is a corporate and business attorney representing clients throughout Georgia. Her office is located in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. Contributed by: William B. Ney Notes: See Also: Atlanta's March Unemployment Report Offers Hope for Region , Don't Count On Your Real Estate Broker When You Need a Sublease of Your Office Space, Law Firms with Unused Offices

Landlords Make Room for New Tenants, Provide Relief for Existing Tenants

The soft real estate market in Atlanta and around other big cities across the United States has some law firms signing on to new office space. While this may seem counter-intuitive due to the continuing economic unease in the marketplace, there are many reasons why this is the perfect time to sign on to new a lease. In fact, tenants are not the only ones taking advantage of the current economic climate by taking on new commitments. Some developers are taking on new building projects while construction costs are low and subsidies can still be found. The biggest driver behind the surge in leasing may be the fact that landlords are keenly interested in keeping their tenants. These landlords, who are often large developers, have to remain flexible to retain their clients and boost occupancy rates. With large volumes of space to lease, re-stacking of office space is becoming commonplace in large buildings. This reorganization of floor space can benefit both the landlord and the client. For existing clients who have downsized their workforce, a consolidation of space between floors can be necessary. For starters, unoccupied office space can become a financial drain on the company. Restructuring an existing lease agreement can result in a lower lease rate and/or additional perks, such as additional parking or remodeling of the new space. But there is another reality that can affect the bottom line of any organization that has cut back on personnel. It is the fact that the psychological effects of working in a vacant landscape can be devastating on the remaining employees. So the client who consolidates office space can dramatically improve the company's bottom line, by cutting costs and by improving morale. The landlord also benefits considerably by allowing existing tenants to consolidate space. Besides helping the tenant "right-size" into the proper space, consolidation makes room for new clients who may have very specific requirements. These requirements may include a particular view of the city, a preference for the top floor or the need to restrict elevator traffic to that space. For many companies, especially banks and law firms, real estate costs are the second highest expenditure after personnel. Making that investment wisely is important and a good landlord-tenant relationship is critical. In 2010, Elaine M. Russell found a way to help law firms with open office space and solo law practitioners by creating www.LawSpaceMatch.com. This free service matches lawyers seeking to sublet space with unoccupied office space at compatible law firms around the country. Elaine M. Russell is a corporate and business attorney representing clients throughout Georgia. Elaine's office is located in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. Notes: See Also: The Need for Law Space Match, Unexpected Benefits Come From Office Sharing, Atlanta Law Space Vacancies

Atlanta Office Space - Slow Rebound

New commercial real estate reports indicate that Atlanta office rental rates are at 2004 levels. Scott Amoson, Director of Research for Colliers International in Atlanta, states that shows some stabilization, as the rate had been steadily declining. While the outlook for landlords still appears bleak, real estate experts are hopeful that job growth will pick uplawyer-cartoon.jpg and improve these rental rates. The average rental rate was $20.06 per square foot in metro-Atlanta last quarter, according to data from real estate services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle. Colliers reported a very small uptick to $19.22 per square foot. While real estate firms may include different data in determining the rates, these rates appear consistent based upon those noted in the Buckhead area. The overall vacancy rate in metro-Atlanta rose very slightly in the quarter to 22.5%, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, and to 18.3% according to Colliers; the average between these two rates is 20.4%. David Rubenstein and Bogue Miller of CresaPartners, echo other real estate pundits in determining that the minimal job growth stunts new development, which is essentially non-existent. Their report, although not terribly pessimistic, indicates that the Atlanta job market is not expected to fully recover for three (3) years. On a positive note, Rubenstein and Miller indicate that it remains a good time for tenants to renew leases or look for new space. Law firms, while engaging into space sharing arrangements in order to reduce costs, and avoid "dark space," are also deciding to relocate. The law firm of Thompson Hine LLP,for instance, decided to relocate from Central Perimeter in Midtown into Buckhead. With an abundance of empty office space, due to the prior new construction "boom years," options in current include either staying in current law space and sub-leasing or moving to a different location. Law firms are weighing these considerations and investigating the scope of landlord concessions. Vacant law office space is a burden for all those involved, and options in this market are available to tenants - move or sublease law space.

Atlanta Attorneys Sublease Space

Sublease, sublease, and sublease. Atlanta attorneys are avoiding "dark space" and sharing office space with other attorneys. Subleasing law space means space that has been leased by a tenant and is being offered for lease back to the market by the tenant with lease obligation. "Dark space" is vacant space that is not currently occupied by a tenant, regardless of any lease obligation. Sharing law space is a great way to cut costs and Atlanta lawyers are seeking avenues on how to sublease law space or share empty office space with like-minded lawyers. Atlanta office vacancy showed little movement in the first quarter of 2011, thereby,

Atlanta lawyers are posting and listing empty office space on www.lawspacematch.com. These lawyers are attracting law school graduates who have not yet found a job in the legal field. The law school graduates are realizing that legal jobs are hard to find and starting their legal career as a solo practitioner is the best option. Sharing law space with seasoned lawyers gives these future lawyers a forum for networking with local attorneys and opportunities for legal work which they otherwise would have no access.

The mission of www.lawspacematch.com is to assist the legal profession by creating a web site targeted for attorneys in transition and law firms with empty office space. Immediate opportunities for attorneys desiring relocation may be found with criteria-based custom searches or views by zip codes. It's simple.  Law firms post available office space; attorneys search and find space while simultaneously posting their professional profiles on our site. www.LawSpaceMatch.com is a matching site like no other and benefits both the law firms and the attorneys by directly connecting these two parties.

Although hope remains the economy will eventually turn around, and lawyers will have an overabundance of legal work which will spur employment in the legal industry, access to the local legal community through www.lawspacematch.com is a source for networking with attorneys and seeking law space in a real estate market with a large holding pattern. Note taken from Atlanta Journal Constitution, on Friday, May 6, 2011 : Office space rebound still on hold

Playstation Network Hack Raises Concerns About Cloud Networking

The video game industry is among the most expanding branch of the electronic business today, with customer bases ranging from the stereotypical adolescent teen to the parents of these teens. Video gamers are becoming increasingly more interconnected through networks such as Xbox Live, and the Playstation Network. On these networks, gamers not only compete against each other, but can do many things not related to games, such as stream their instant queue from Netflix, download music using Rhapsody, and even update their Twitter and Facebook. With these developments, consumers have put increasingly more personal information onto these networks in order to reap their benefits. One would think that a major industry giant such as Sony would be able to keep this information under padlock and key, but recent developments have shown that this may not be the case. In the month of April, hackers officially deemed by Sony as "anonymous" hacked into an estimated 100 million user accounts on the Playstation Network, obtaining street addresses, phone numbers, full names, and other personal information. Thankfully, most credit information was locked in a different network and was not reached, but the hackers still reached about 12,700 non-U.S. credit and debit accounts. Sony has stated that many of these numbers are outdated, but the company is still moving to notify affected customers "as quickly as possible". This situation is incredibly disconcerting, and presents many possible legal ramifications against Sony. One has to wonder how much precaution Sony put into locking this personal information, given that the conglomerate is one of the largest electronic companies in the world. Through this, the question of negligence pops up. In the coming months, the true ramifications of this hack will be seen, as the information stolen from Sony will undoubtedly be sold off and subsequently used by its buyers. A possible use for this information is to assist in stealing people's identities, a crime that may have been assisted by Sony's lack of precaution in safely storing their customer's personal information. So, a rational thought for a customer finding his/her identity to be stolen after knowingly giving personal information to Sony may be to sue the computer giant for customer negligence. This presents a larger issue for Sony and its legal team, an opportunity for some lawyers, and exposes a problem that may have even more far-reaching ramifications. Cloud Networking is an ever-growing method for businesses to store their information and contacts over the Internet. The Sony debacle has exposed these networks to be vulnerable, and has caused people to think that they have possibly put too much faith in corporate clouds. As a result, companies such as Safesforce.com, network software engineering company, have seen dips in stock prices, which had previously been among the highest performing stocks in the past year. Thus, the hack of Sony's Playstation network may be seen to have much more far-reaching ramifications than one would initially think, both legally and business-wise. As the situation shows, no network is impervious to hackers, representing an up and coming issue as our society moves into a state fueled by and reliant upon technology and networking.

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