Carolyn Elefant has a nice piece up on My Shingle discusses the merits and potential pitfalls of coworking, that is, sharing space with other professionals to save on overhead.
Given the rise in technology that mitigates the need (to some degree) of even having a traditional office, coworking has an appeal for many attorneys, since it gives them the ability to have a professional address, perhaps a shared conference room, and the ambiance of an actual office without the full overhead that can entail.
But of course, there are problems. Many coworking sites are aimed at non-attorneys and aren’t designed in a way to reasonably allow for confidential meetings or exchange of sensitive information. In theory, these other professionals might be sources of business, but that is certainly more a long-term potential than an immediate one.
Companies and sites that focus on attorney coworking, or even just attorneys leasing space from other attorneys, may be a better solution (albeit often more expensive); Elefant’s suggestion that Bar Associations might get into the field is also possible.
No doubt, as the practice of law keeps changing, coworking will follow. While there will always be a place for the traditional office, not every attorney will need that kind of space.