I know solo lawyers who have entered into arrangements with other lawyers and firms, such as space sharing and informal and formal affiliations, that did not work out for various reasons and they regretted it. The reasons run the gamut from differences in work ethic, ethics, values, quality of work, client service, to nature of practice, practice area, nature of clients, unrealistic business development dreams, billing practices and office management, etc. Here is some practical advice culled from those experiences.
Don’t enter into a space sharing arrangement unless you have a real need and reason for that office and the price is too good to pass up. Be skeptical of references to overflow work as justification for the move.
Don’t enter into loose affiliations or of counsel arrangements unless you have the same reasons as above, or the other side gives you substantial evidence that they need you to do a certain kind of work they currently have and can’t handle and the numbers work out in your favor. Promises that the other lawyers will introduce you to their clients or that the arrangement will give you greater visibility are often just made to secure you to benefit the other lawyer or law firm in some other way. What’s really in it for you that justifies the cost and the disruption in your practice?
I rarely see such arrangements working out to both sides’ benefit solely from a business development angle. Have reasons to enter into those arrangements other than just the promise, hope or idea of generating more work for one or both sides.
If you would like help considering your options, please contact me.