Academic, clinical, industrial, and legal offices in the 21st century have changed in form due to several innovations in interior design, technology, and ergonomics. One of the developments in the legal field is the creation of coworking spaces, where lawyers share office space even though they are not affiliated with each other or have different legal practices. The coworking space has sparked a debate among lawyers and legal officers due to client perception and confidentiality.
An article from Law.com suggests some helpful ways to share office space with other attorneys while preventing ethical violations:
- No associations in materials used
In coworking spaces, you might share materials with your fellow lawyers to cut costs. However, always remember that whatever information you place on these materials can be shared with anybody. Never use business cards, letterheads, memo pads, or similar materials that list you and your fellow lawyers together as a single entity. Firm stationery must clearly indicate the practices and references of the lawyers in the shared working space separately.
- Take extra measures for confidentiality
If you and your fellow lawyers are planning to share cabinets or shelves, keep the ethical rule of confidentiality in mind. Avoid using shared storage areas for top secret files. Law office suites in Florida usually operate with multiple computers or gadgets to help organize emails and files. However, when you’re working in a shared office space, you should consider restricting access to certain emails and files. Only the lawyer who owns the computer is allowed to read, respond, and organize them.
- Talk to your clients
You can talk to your clients about the objectives and limits of coworking space. Orienting them to your office setting is a must before addressing their needs. You can also talk to your fellow lawyers about referrals and other guidelines when handling clients in the coworking space.
Despite the controversy, more and more lawyers are using shared office spaces. The important thing is for you to ensure that you and your fellow lawyers will comply with the ethical standards of legal service.
The Legal Domain is a virtual office in West Palm Beach, Florida. We offer workspaces for lease and legal services for lawyers such as paralegal services, cover counsel, practice management software, and many others.
What are your thoughts about coworking spaces? Do you think you can work in such a setting? Tell us in the comment section below!