[ESQlegal is the latest Cowork space to open within the Denver central business district’s booming RiNo corridor focuses on the unique needs of small firm business attorneys, who wish to buck mainstream stagnation trends. ESQlegal will provide a collaborative knowledge-sharing space that serves the booming tech, business and start-up sector of Colorado. With legal fees being buried in complexity, a lot of touch has been lost with the needs of Start Up clients, who need finite project-based billing to reach scale. ESQlegal wants to position itself as a loose, but supportive association of solo ‘esquires’ who collectively share the overhead a traditional law office would provide, and also share work values around newer, more efficient billing models. The problem with most coworking space is that printers, WiFi networks, and other media devices are not secured for the confidentiality requirements within the legal profession. ESQlegal will facilitate all those needs for attorneys, as the founder is one herself, a corporate attorney for 10 years of Santeon, Jetsmarter, and currently EBenefits Network, and her new shingle Launch Legal.]
Yev Muchnik a native Coloradoan, now since returned home from the more formal world of east coast corporate law practice in DC and Miami, and felt that there needed to be a focused entrepreneurial face to legal services coworking. That empowers other attorneys in their own practices, saying, “Leaving the corporate law workforce to do life-stage normal things, like having kids, shouldn’t disempower us, but be a basis for a richer experience than can be passed along to quality relationship building. The big firms don’t really support work/life balance and the truth is you just shouldn’t have to work 100 hours a week — coworking is the new normal.”
Aimed at Attorneys who believe in treading a fresh path in modern legal practice by making fee structures transparent — ESQlegal is made up of equal parts work culture and
coterie-of-events conveniently located in the heart of the booming RiNo arts district.
ESQlegal makes it easy for attorneys to manage the schedule of their own practices and enjoy law-firm like benefits such as user friendly billing software system, high-end IT networks for data transmission that conforms to privacy requirements, and fast WiFi. At the end of the day participating attorneys have an opportunity to engage with an events-driven art and technology community.
As digital-first communications become best practice, the legal industry will be forced to adapt to a changing business landscape with more efficient models. Much of what has been done in the past has been accomplished by huge administrative support teams can now be done at lesser expense with software tools and fractional support staff. These savings can be passed onto clients, making services more competitive and accessible to new types of businesses. Sticker shock for legal services is the way of a past dominated by mega firms that can no longer be sustained in our new economy where media and the role of consumers making judgements about brand value impacts their perceptions of the service more directly.
The events space is not just for serving the needs of attorneys and their clients, it’s a marketplace of ideas and emerging trends in modern business that can make those attorneys more efficient. The necessity of a lean business is the main cultural ethos that ESQlegal wants to show other independent law practitioners to work with fill-in support, though each faces a different law specialty.
ESQlegal focuses on business, tech and startup attorneys because they are well positioned to complement each other’s practices and learn from each other’s knowledge and experience. Whether seasoned attorneys are looking to break free from the constraints of practicing in a traditional legal environment or starting out their practice, the space is designed to serve many different types of legal professionals — particularly those who are underserved by traditional (establishment) firms.
Recent news indicates something long known by many female professional attorneys: it’s harder than it should be, to excel within traditional environments and law firms are no exception. Though women occupy more seats than men in law schools, they are still less likely to acquire an equity stake (often through partnership) than their male peers. ESQlegal provides services to those determined to launch their own venture by helping them to reinvent their work lives, while doing impactful work — by ‘leaning in, and setting up shop.’
Anyone supportive of that mission is welcome — the Colorado Bar Association and Denver Bar Association are already working to schedule CLE (continuing legal education) events as well as developing technology hacks for common issues faced by indie practitioners in the legal field. The legal industry needs more contact with technology enabled coworking, and to examine the imminent business case to develop legal products for cutting edge services to run leaner, and with more transparency standards overall. ESQlegal wants to be the center for innovation in the legal community in the city of Denver, Colorado and to influence the course of this conversation nationally, and internationally.
What do law firms and traditional offices really offer? The principal offering is the habitable structure itself, and the expertise of people within it. Mentors supporting the industry through extended networks and feed into technology customer needs. ESQlegal will also provide many in-house service offerings, including ad/mar-tech media consulting from Vorpal Sabre for those that need to ‘in source’ their content marketing, build SEO presence, and navigate the rapidly changing ad targeting landscape to find clients. Fractional support staff for reception will be included. Services are cumbersome for individual practitioners to afford on their own. These events, services and facilities strengthen community ties amongst those who share common values and work styles in choosing flexible coworking.
Coworking is a revolution because it empowers entrepreneurs to challenge conventional thought, generate new product/service ideas to address consumer needs and to self-organize. Strategic partnerships that create a diverse value exchange amongst people with similar values about work/life balance, can show diversity in the marketplace of ideas is more than just a slogan. The business community often debates how it can get more people to be more productive in each office’s culture. Organizations would do better to ask themselves about the sort of work culture humans enjoy, and would want to participate in, by asking what they offer each other.
On Friday, September 29, (right as Denver Startup Week concludes down the street in LoDo) ESQlegal will offer a few samples of its culture. A 7pm Art/Tech law start up launch party with local hybrid technology/production company Cinebody will draw tech alums from nearby panels off the diversity, legal, and tech Startup Week tracks. Attendees will be able to collaborate, film, and edit short, pre-curated mobile videos on-site, and post on social media in real time. This cloud sourced, user-directed platform demystifies a quality mobile filmmaking process, supplying snackable social media content fast, and showing how to use social media for storytelling across internet platforms.
As ESQlegal strives to build a founder-based, co-habited technology/legal community of entrepreneurs who are committed to shared purpose and value, it is developing plans for a variety of legal career outlooks. Interested attorneys can reach out on ESQlegal.com, and also visit Facebook for more information and reserve tickets for the event.
How competitive are the monthly tenancy rates? Floating desks start at $350, Dedicated Desks at $750, Private Offices at $1750, and a part-time floating desk can be negotiated on a sliding scale case-by-case. Yev Muchnik takes into consideration the value those individuals are uniquely positioned to contribute — especially those who need a little more time to ramp up after starting out. Prices are custom for private offices and discounted rates are available for longer term commitments.
Striking a balance between confidentiality, modernity and collaboration, ESQlegal will foster closer relationships between start-ups and legal service providers while catering to solo attorney entrepreneur firms of up 8 people. Upgrades like pink noise conference rooms (which are not sound eliminating, but recording obscurant) and discreet private space for phone calls, and small break-out meeting lounge areas dot the open, converted warehouse.
ESQlegal provides a design-thinking influenced environment with upscale modern furnishing, and a private quiet room with a mural. The cultural commitment to transparency for legal service prices makes it easier for new business organizations to navigate the startup formation process, access important services like contract review, and education access to a solid offering of new business facing services. ESQlegal will be a unique addition to Denver’s local coworking universe offering an experience of coworking that lives right within a technology neighborhood and embraces an “innovators are welcome” mindset.