The Canadian Bar Insurance Association

Community presence needed for satellite office success

Opening a satellite office can be a beneficial move for a law firm looking to offer services to a wider client base,  Toronto business litigation lawyer Chris MacLeod tells Lawyers Weekly.

“Ultimately, the direction you need to go is to have a real fixed presence in the community, with people actually working and living there,” says MacLeod, partner with Cambridge LLP, a firm whose Toronto satellite location has grown into a stand-alone office.

“But I think you can start with a satellite to get a sense of the market and start building relationships.”

It’s also important to think of potential clients and the address they’ll see on your letterhead, MacLeod says in the article, noting his firm already had offices in Burlington and Toronto, but opened an Ottawa satellite office to improve its credibility when working with international embassies.

While opening up shop in a small community may help build relationships, it’s not a guarentee of new business, MacLeod tells Lawyers Weekly.

“Satellite offices are a great first step, but eventually you need boots on the ground,” he says. “It takes real commitment from partners of the firm to be in the community on a regular basis.”

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