While flexible work environments and co-working spaces like WeWork have been rapidly growing in popularity and availability over the last several years, most of us legal practitioners have stuck with a more traditional office space model, going to the same building every day, having our own reserved offices, and maintaining private conference rooms and common areas where we can receive clients. Then 2020 happened, and we collectively learned that we can work from home (or live at work, depending on how you look at it) with little to no need for the physical spaces of the past. Now that we are looking forward at what our practices will look like in a post-COVID-19 world, many attorneys are seeing the value of a weekly model with a hybrid of in-person and remote work. As a result, firms are re-evaluating their office space needs and considering shorter and more flexible terms than a traditional office lease can provide. While co-working spaces can provide a solution, attorneys need to carefully consider how their use can impact our professional responsibilities. This article explores these ethical concerns and some related questions to consider (after a quick refresher on license agreements, which are the primary agreement used for co-working spaces).
This article first appeared in the New Jersey State Bar Association's Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Newsletter, vol. 33, no. 1, summer 2021.Click here to view the full article