Quick Tip: 3 considerations when sharing office space
Sharing office space can be beneficial to all the lawyers involved, but it is important to take extra steps to ensure you are upholding ethical and professional standards.
All shared employees in the office need to be aware of the importance of client privacy.
Protecting your clients’ confidences and secrets should always be on your mind. Receptionists in a shared office need to take care not to repeat client names when answering the phones, since others in the waiting room may overhear.
A shared office can also make it easier to misrepresent yourself on your signage.
Signage cannot imply that lawyers who share space are a partnership. Make sure all signs designate that each lawyer is practicing in their own firms. The same goes for your letterhead.
Designation such as:
- Law Office of John Doe
- Law Office of Mary Roe
- Law Office of Larry Lawyer
is less likely to confuse the public than:
Law Offices of
- John Doe
- Mary Roe
- Larry Lawyer
Also make sure you do not denominate yourself and the lawyers you are sharing office space with, for example, “Doe, Roe and Lawyer”. Even including a disclaimer such as “not a partnership” or “an association of sole practitioners” does not render the name or designation permissible.
Have a safe and/or locked filing cabinet for private files.
If you know your office mates well, you may be less worried about locking away clients’ and your own private files. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Invest in a safe, start locking your filing cabinets and always lock your office door.