September 23, 2014

Coworking: A New Means For Startup Real Estate

Joel Jacobson_pictureWhen deciding on commercial real estate, new entrepreneurs and solo attorneys should consider coworking as a viable real estate model. Coworking presents the opportunity for individuals from diverse fields to work daily or monthly in a shared, commercial environment at a reasonable price despite being employed by different industries or companies. Unlike some traditional commercial arrangements, one need not commit to a term of several years. Lawyers should know that coworking is an exciting and attractive real estate arrangement that brings together quality, low cost, and flexible exit options. This is a trend on the rise in Colorado uniting individuals in small businesses.

Recently, I began spending time at one such space in Denver – Creative Density.  This space is not only populated by technology entrepreneurs and free-lance website developers, but also attorneys and writers. At its core, coworking is not only about shared office space, but also about fostering a collaborative community. The less experienced and boot-strapped entrepreneurial client may be best advised to consider real estate that takes into account shared community, price sensitivity, and flexibility surrounding lease terms in the event that the business does not succeed. When asked why attorneys should care about coworking, the owner of Creative Density, Craig Baute said, “When advising clients on starting a business, coworking is an excellent way for them to reduce risk, expenses, and grow their network and skill set. Since it is a flexible option it grows with them and starts at a much lower rate compared to other office solutions for small businesses.”

Further, attorneys starting their own solo practice should consider this type of real estate arrangement for themselves if concerned about location, price-point, or future growth. Coworking is a flexible option that can quickly respond to new law practice dynamics and aid client development along the way. Mr. Baute agrees, noting that “lawyers have been sharing offices for years to lower costs, but this is a way to get to work with people outside of the industry, expand your network, and learn new valuable skills.” Similarly, a recent piece from the Harvard Business Review highlighted an attorney successfully utilizing a coworking arrangement to develop his new company. The attorney founded a business offering a transparent way to disclose legal terms within the social media context and was quite satisfied with coworking because the arrangement presented “ultra-flexibility and low overhead.”

It is important for Colorado attorneys to be aware of the coworking real estate model when advising entrepreneurial clients or considering a solo practice. To understand a client’s real estate desires, a lawyer must assess the client’s financials, business savvy, and likelihood of success. Coworking presents an arrangement that is affordable, permits one to quickly build out a diverse social network, and is flexible. Such a model can potentially lead to new clients, new investors, or new resources to aid in completing work. These characteristics certainly increase the probability of business success. In sum, coworking should be considered because the arrangement hits the mark of affordable pricing and early exit options.

Joel Jacobson is a Contracts and Operations Associate with H.B. Stubbs Company, LCC – a national design and fabrication firm headquartered near Detroit, MI for exhibits displayed by technology and automotive companies. He focuses on contracts, employment law, and a variety of non-legal business issues. Joel serves on the Executive Council of the Denver Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and has an interest in topics impacting start-up companies in the Denver entrepreneurial community. He can be reached by email at jmjacobson1@gmail.com or on Twitter @J_m_Jacobson.

The opinions and views expressed by Featured Bloggers on CBA-CLE Legal Connection do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, or CBA-CLE, and should not be construed as such.

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